family

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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Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL Family Portrait Photographer | Tom, Lauren, Ethan, & Isabel

It’s been about 4 years since I last photographed this crew, and man have these kids gotten HUGE!!! What really makes me feel old is that I photographed Isabel’s newborn pictures. IN 2011. I don’t even know what to do with that. I just fell down a rabbit hole looking back at those pictures, and then I remembered that I photographed Isabel’s newborn pictures the day after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter (who is my second born). I remember not feeling the best, and also being a little emotional seeing new little Isabel after just finding out I was going to have another baby. It’s funny how pictures of other people’s families and life events can bring up so many of my own memories! And I’m floored that that was SEVEN years ago! WHAT IN THE WORLD.

I met up with Tom, Lauren, & the kids at Nachusa Grasslands, which I had never heard of before Lauren suggested doing their shoot there. Have any of you out there heard of this place??? There are legit bison there! It’s so cool! And speaking of cool, it was FREEZING the day of their shoot. It was windy and cold and I felt so bad for making them traipse around without their coats on. Thankfully we moved to a more wooded area for the second part of the shoot and the wind-blocking trees made things much more bearable. They were troopers, and I have to say that I’m proud of them because I can’t even tell that they were freezing while looking through these pictures.

ANYWAYS. How ‘bout some pictures?!?

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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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Sycamore, IL Family Photographer | Matt, Laura, Livvy, Grace, Madelyn, & Jane

Sycamore, IL Family Photographer

Matt & Laura and their kiddos just moved up to Illinois from New Mexico back in June and they wanted to commemorate their first season in the Midwest with a photo shoot. In Laura’s words from a text that literally made me snort with laughter, “We’re having family pictures taken because I have my doubts we’ll survive the Winter coming from New Mexico.” Haha! I probably shouldn’t be surprised that we’ve had some unseasonably early snow and cold this year (it’s in fact snowing as I type this post)! A good ‘ole Midwest welcome to these newbies! XD

I felt so refreshed by this session in a lot of ways. First of all, I was in awe of how well these four girls got along! I’m sure every day home life is different and they have their moments like any siblings do, but I really got a sense during the shoot that they generally have a good time together. They laughed and joked with each other during our shoot, and if any of them suggested something for a pose they all were on board without any apparent annoyance at the sibling making the suggestion. This inspired great hope for me with my kiddos, who are all young enough to still like each other, that when they’re in their teenage years they can still be good buddies. Another thing that stuck out to me was how much Matt and Laura genuinely enjoy their kids and just let them be who they are. I’m fully aware of how stressful photo shoots can be for families (especially when very young kids are involved), and I’m all about letting kids be themselves instead of forcing them into happy, smiley, perfect pictures. I really felt like Matt and Laura embraced this without me even having to say anything. They let the girls be silly, entertained their posing ideas, and even joined in with the joking. I felt like I was receiving a lesson in parenting…that it’s okay to let your kids be kids EVEN during times that you’d normally consider “serious”, and it’s okay for us parents to participate in and enjoy their kid-ness. The final thing that I really loved about this shoot was being able to see the Midwest through fresh eyes. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve taken for granted how beautiful this area is. But hearing from Laura’s perspective, who has spent a good portion of her life in the desert, how much she loves the landscape around here has really made me pause, look around, and notice just how lovely it is. Thank you guys for all of these little insights and inspirations!

Now for the pictures. :D

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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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DeKalb, IL Family Photographer | Heath, Katie, Blake, Knox, & Jace

DeKalb, IL Family Photographer

I’ve known this family for quite a long time!! I had the honor of photographing Heath & Katie’s engagement & wedding all the way back in 2011 when they were a family of three and Blake was only 2-years-old (my WORD that was forever ago!!), then a family session for them back in 2015 after Knox joined them, and now they’re back with sweet Jace as a family of FIVE! Throughout those years I’ve also gotten to know Katie a little more because she’s my massage therapist, and a pretty amazing one if I do say so myself (FOR REAL. You need to go see her!)!! Anyways, I’m so excited to have these guys (and gal!) on the blog again!

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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!

DeKalb, IL Maternity Photographer | Craig, Liz, & Annabelle

DeKalb, IL Maternity Photographer

In just a few short weeks my baby sis is going to have BABY!!!! It’s been quite an exciting year-and-a-half for this clan! Back in April 2017 Liz married Craig and became stepmomma to darling Annabelle, and she also finished up her nursing degree and got a job in the field. Then they found out they were pregnant around the same time they closed on a new house (she announced her pregnancy to me while we were packing up their kitchen, haha!)! So many good changes! I’m so excited for them and can’t wait to snuggle my newest niece!!

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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 | John, Jacqueline, & Dylan

Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL Family Photographer

Another sweet bride & groom turned mom & dad on the blog today!! I photographed John & Jackie's wedding back in 2015 but now they're back with Mr. Dylan!! Dylan is a sweet and gentle little dude with an old soul and I had a great time hanging out with him and his parents!

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See you guys next time!! :D :D :D

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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DeKalb, IL Family Photography | Dave, Sarah, Ben, Danny, & Isabel

DeKalb, IL Family Photographer

Another year, another shoot with this crew!! I'll never tire of getting to see how much these kiddos grow, and my oh my, have they grown up!! If you feel like taking a stroll down memory lane with me, just check out their previous shoots!! (2011, 2012, 2013, 2016) This year they were joined by their newest family member, Mylo and he is such a sweetie!

We shot out at Camelot Christmas Tree Farm this year and it was nice to change it up from my usual places. The property is so peaceful with the trees and the little lake, and paired with shooting at my absolute favorite time of day, I left our shoot feeling recharged from beauty of it all. 

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Ben (who is a freshman IN HIGH SCHOOL NOW!! What is life!?!?!?)

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Danny

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Isabel

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See you guys next year!! :D :D :D 

DeKalb, IL Family Photography | Dan, Beth, & Hannah

DeKalb, IL Family Photographer

This gang is back on the blog, and it was so fun to photograph them in one of my happy places: The DeKalb Public Library!!! Since their wedding alllllllllll the way back in 2011 (WHAT?!?), Dan & Beth have lived all over the world (Austrailia, the Netherlands, and now Texas!), which means when they visit home it's usually around Christmas (i.e. it's really cold). They wanted to change things up from their indoor session at Grandma & Grandpa's house a couple years ago, and the library was a great WARM option! Little Hannah is a budding book worm (yeah girl!!), so we grabbed some of her favorites and got to work. Grandma & Grandpa joined in after a bit, and I can tell you right now if Hannah ever doubts how adored she is she'll only need to look at these images. 

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Dan, Beth, Hannah, Gary, & Jan, thanks again for a fun time and see you in a couple years!! <3 <3 <3 

Sycamore, IL Family Photography | John, Dawn, Abigail, & Allison

Sycamore, IL Family Photographer

Got some in-home goodness coming atcha today!! It was so nice to meet this family and hang out in front of their cozy fireplace, especially since the day of their shoot was one of the coldest we've had this Fall! Abigail and Allison were so stinkin' cute and up for much silliness, which I always approve of. ;) After we got nice and toasty by the fire, we hopped outside into the freezing, blustery weather for a few quick images in the backyard (and I mean QUICK! I think we lasted about 5 minutes tops!). Thanks so much for inviting me into your home, friends! 

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

Sycamore, IL Family Photographer

I just photographed this team back in February right after Anna was born, and I CAN'T BELIEVE how much they've all grown in just eight months!! All four of these girls are so stinkin' cute and so much fun to photograph!!! Technically, this was a mini session because their daddy (David) is a farmer and literally took a quick dinner break for this shoot so he could get back to harvesting, but these girls did such a great job in just 20 short minutes! 

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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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Rockford, IL Family Photography | Michael, Jessica, Reese, & Paisley

Rockford, IL Family Photographer

I've known Jessica for over 10 years now and I've watched her walk through some pretty important life-changes: graduating college, getting a job as a teacher, meeting and marrying Michael, and having kids. The last time I had the privilege of photographing her and her family was back when Paisley was just a wee little newborn, so you know I was excited to see how much these kiddos have grown and catch up on life!!!

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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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