Maternity

It may be your first or your last, or your miracle or your surprise, but that growing belly is such an incredible gift. It may not seem like it at the time, as your pants grow snug and the heartburn rages, but these are beautiful moments that only last a short while. What a joy it was to capture my friend, Tracy, as she documents her last baby and celebrates this chapter of her life. We can’t wait to meet you, baby boy!


Home is Where the Heart Is

I can’t believe I just met this family, because while I spent the morning with them, it felt like I had known them for a long time! These beautiful people just moved here, cross-country, and are embracing this new journey and change with such grace and poise and patience. Coming from small towns, this big city can be totally intimidating, especially with this polar vortex winter. But I keep telling them, all will be well in a few months. I am so honored to have been able to capture their new normal so that they can remember these days, years from now, when their kids are grown. They will be able to look at these photos and tell them all about their big city adventure. Documenting this sweet family made me realize that no matter where life takes you, home truly is where the heart is.

First 48 | Baby Ryleigh

What could be more special than welcoming a child into this world?! If you’ve been through it before, you know how crazy, exhausting, and incredible those first 48 hours in the hospital are. However, it’s all kind of a blur. At least it was for me. Allow me to be a fly on the wall and document these special details so that you can soak it all in now, but remember it all later. I won’t interrupt whatever is going on- feeding, rocking, shushing, sleeping, etc. I will capture those tiny toes, and little ears, and those sweet hospital swaddles. I want it to feel authentic and natural and unposed. I will be in and out so quickly, mom doesn’t even have to get out of bed. Not sure you want to be pictured in your hospital gown but don’t want to worry about packing something? I can bring a selection of soft, neutral robes you can throw on over, if you’d like! I got you, mama ;). “The days are long, but the years are short.” Let’s remember these beautiful days for as long as we can!

Welcome to the world Ryleigh Chase! You are one beautiful little human, and you hit the jackpot with your family. They love you fiercely and I have no doubt that you will make this world a better place. I can’t wait to watch you grow!

Sabrina Mamahood

“It’s the little memories that last a lifetime.” I can’t stress enough the importance of having photos taken while your little ones are still young. Don’t wait for the perfect weather or perfect house or ideal life circumstances. Do it now, in your pajamas if you’d like, cozied up at home- reading, playing, cooking. Whatever your normal looks like. However imperfect. I’d love to be part of documenting your days so that you can look back on them with a grateful heart.

I pray over each family that I photograph, that the Lord will protect and strengthen them, deepen their love for one another, and provide a light to those tiny feet as they grow and change and eventually go out into the world. May each one make this world a better, kinder place.

And there isn’t a kinder, more beautiful bunch than these three. What an honor to capture some authentic moments at home on a cold, snowy morning. Our memories don’t always serve us well, but I sure hope these photos will spark joy in the years to come.

night nights

We have become big pajama people, I don’t know if that says something about us, but we love them. And as a photographer who is focusing on photographing more in-home sessions this year (hint- I have a cozy new session option headed your way soon!), I needed to have some pjs that photographed well and were incredibly comfortable and worth the investment for my clients. I have found some quality pjs that have matching adult options (because come on, mom or dad need to be in a few), and that have timeless designs, colors, high quality fabrics, and that make me smile.

First up, meet the “Night Nights” from The Beaufort Bonnet Company. They are soft, fitted, and my kids have not wanted to take them off. Plus the classic designs make my heart sing. Margaux’s night nights are the same print wallpaper that I had in my room as a little girl, so it get’s 100% in my book.

Next up, the pajamas from Petite Plume. It’s definitely luxury sleepwear, such attention to detail, so soft, and I can attest that it does get softer with each wash. When I was hunting for Christmas jammies that weren’t red and green, I came across these pastel blue and pink gingham sets and I knew I had to try them. We’ll be able to wear them all year round. Bonus- they have matching robes, eye masks, and adult sizes. What more could you ask for?

Both of these are great options for photos. So go check them out! So soft, so classic. So… just scroll- you’ll see.

| small light pink bow: fourth + pierce | large pink bow: Tip Toes Boutique |

sunny january afternoon

53 degrees in January with bright sunshine, yes please! For those of you that are not from Chicago, this is NOT normal. I may not have been prepared to take some photos, as I was in yoga pants and no makeup, but some other photographers have inspired me lately to not worry about the whole look being perfect when it comes to your own family. Just document the days, as they are. So I threw on a coat and grabbed the first hat that I could find (which was totally smooshed) and asked my husband to go for a little adventure. Every time my professional camera comes with me, there is usually added pressure for some reason. So I promised, “no stress.” When we got there, the ground was just about as muddy as it could possibly be. And of course all my kids wanted to do was splash in the mud. So after the first few “no!”s it was clear that it was a loosing battle. And I thought to myself, this was not supposed to be stressful. Just treasured time spent together. Walking. Exploring. With a few extra loads of laundry on the side, so be it. So we let it go, and embraced the mess. I am so glad I have these photos, they just make me happy. Several of these might even make it up on the walls of our home, but if they don’t, that’s ok too. So don’t worry if your hair is 5 days dirty, and you have spit up on your sweater. Do whatever makes you feel good, and document the ordinary every once in a while. 

hoffman family

What a treat to photograph such a beautiful family! This adorable family is preparing and cherishing the final weeks as a party of three, before welcoming another little one. I can remember this time all too well, before we welcomed our second. It is such a sweet time and yet there is so much anticipation for what's ahead, and who this little person will be. I was always a bit nervous that the family dynamic would change so much. And it's true, it does change, but only in the best of ways. Especially when you watch your first child become an older sibling. It's just the best! I am so thankful this glowing mama decided to document these days, because we all know how quickly they come and go. So looking forward to watching this family grow! Thank you Hoffman family for allowing me into your home to capture some sweet moments that you will have to look back on! 

three generations

I had been keeping my eye out on an apple orchard right near my home for weeks, when one day I drove by and was ecstatic to see a magical scene. Pink buds and white blossoms and sunlight streaming through row and rows of trees. I knew I had to offer motherhood mini sessions to my clients and was so glad when it worked out! I love photographing this family and it was an even bigger treat to have grandma included this time! How special to have 3 generations, photographed together?! These photos will be cherished in years to come, I just know. And when your client tells you that these are some of the best photos she has had with her mom ever, you just smile from ear to ear! I am so grateful to be a part of making family memories. 

buordo twins

A few months ago, I had the joy of photographing this beauty's final weeks of pregnancy with her twin babies. Is she not just glowing? I'm pretty sure I never looked that radiant when I was pregnant with either of my babies. I think it's so beautiful hearing other mom's thoughts about pregnancy and motherhood in general, so read on to see what Julie said about this incredible journey. 

"I've been through three pregnancies, each having their "awe" moments.  Whether in awe over being pregnant for the first time, or in awe discovering we were having a girl the second time after having our son, nothing could prepare us for the awe we felt when we discovered we were having twins.  Why us?  We have no history of twins in our family and mothering has never quite fit into my natural aptitudes.  Never in our WILDEST dreams could we imagine this outcome.  But God thrust us into this new season of our life which included challenges and beautiful outcomes.  Being a mother has taught me to loosen my grip and let some things go. I've discovered more patience (and discovered what really pushes my buttons), that no matter how hard I push the vegetables, they're always going to prefer mac and cheese, that repetitive questions are an indication they want to be heard and valued, that kisses solve a lot of problems, and sometimes the background noise created with their insanely loud voices is actually a pirate adventure sailing the seas and looking for buried treasure.  At 32 weeks pregnant the shock has long worn off that we're carrying twins, but the awe still remains that God has entrusted us with four children to raise.  I pray that one day they can experience that same wonder!"

simple sunday morning

One of my favorite things about being a family/portrait/lifestyle photographer, is that I get to photograph a variety of subjects with a variety of desires in a variety of settings. Many families desire a photo of everyone smiling at the camera, and that is always nice to have, but it is music to my ears when a client is interested in the in-between, authentic moments. Because let's face it, a very small percentage of our daily lives are that perfect, especially when we're talking about parenthood. So remembering the real, the raw, the chaos, the beauty, and the joy, is so crucial in my opinion. We need to document these moments and cherish them. Because as moms and dads know, it's the toughest job.  The days are oh so long sometimes, but the years sure are brief. 

Meet the Dreyer family. What a pleasure to capture a snippet of an ordinary Sunday morning, chasing these little people around (or really just one little guy- he's quick y'all ;). I love the energy and warmth that radiates from their home. These precious kids have two of the best parents around and they are darn lucky. So if you're a fellow stay-at-home mama out there, sip your coffee, be a fly on the wall and enjoy scrolling through these authentic family moments. But if you don't get to do either of those things (because let's be honest, when's the last time you finished your coffee?), just know that you are loved, honored, valued, and certainly not alone. Embrace the mess. Find the joy. Kiss those babies.   #theartofmotherhood.

holiday announcement

There's a first time for everything, and for me that was this session! This last year I had a goal of photographing a pregnancy announcement and it came true this fall! When my clients told me that they wanted to do a family session with a special twist- a pregnancy announcement for their friends and family at Christmas, I was thrilled! The icing on the cake- TWINS! Julie and I brainstormed some creative ideas together and she decided on the idea of spelling out the word twins. I thought this was such a cute idea, however getting two little ones to stand in place and hold the letters the right way while smiling in the 20 degree temperatures, is a bit tricky I learned. But we got the shot and some sweet, silly in between moments that will surely make anyone smile. And can we talk about how stunning Julie is, as an expectant mother of TWO precious babies?! I am so thankful to be a part of something so special, and I can't wait to meet these little humans. 

clark family

Where do I even begin?! This family session in the city makes my heart really happy. I have known David and his family since I was little girl, and his wife Lauren, was my college roomie and best friend. And guess who set the two of them up?! That's right. {insert me, raising my hand}. But obviously I want to believe that these two would have found each other somehow because they are so perfect for each other. And now they have a little baby girl, Gia. It's so crazy to think Lauren and I were dreaming of what our lives would be like once we got married and had kids, and now we're living that dream. These cuties are such an adorable trio and I had a pretty fabulous time taking some photos of them in their beautiful downtown city condo. I can't wait to watch baby Gia grow and their family too, because time flies. For now lets just freeze time and enjoy these memories captured on film. 

jerina family

This was such a fun afternoon spent documenting life with these beautiful people. Do they not get you in the holiday spirit or what?! You would never know what a chilly afternoon it was by the smiles on their faces! Sabrina and Matt have two of the most adorable children. John Paul is such a curious, active, sweet little boy, and his baby sister has the biggest, cutest smile around! It will truly melt your heart! Sabrina and I discovered recently that we have a mutual family friend who is dear to both of us. What a crazy small world it can be! I am thankful to know you, Jerina family!

cafe family

Oh my goodness. This family. The heart, the genuine love, and the joy that these four share is contagious. When I got these film scans back from my lab, I felt like I was flipping through the slides of a home video. I am so thankful to know this family. This brisk fall morning was a treasure, as the tree-filled park was cloaked in golden light, which made for a perfect setting to document memories. I sure hope these are favorites that are looked back on with a full heart. 

gegas family

I had the enormous honor of photographing these beautiful people AGAIN! Last summer, I had so much fun doing a motherhood session of Janet and her daughter Gia. Janet is truly the kindest, most genuine, and radiant moms and humans I know, and her daughter is just the sweetest. It was wonderful to include Janet's husband this time! What a treat to watch him interact with little Gia and bring out her silly side. I love seeing the three of them interact so naturally together.  The love, laughter, and joy just comes easily to them, which makes my job so easy. They are a dream team and so much fun to be around! I hope these photos serve as a reminder of how special family is and to cherish every day. 

linda and jeff

I had the recent privilege of photographing this sweet family on a chilly October day at the beach. It was super crummy and rainy in the early morning but I am so glad Linda and Jeff were up for giving it a go! The clouds parted and it ended up being a great day. I have to say, watching these siblings interact with each other was my favorite part! I grew up in a family of all girls, so I can only imagine the brotherly bond these two will share forever. I mean just look at the two of them! I am so grateful for this opportunity to document life for this beautiful family. Linda and Jeff, I hope you will look back on these pictures and smile!

rachel and chris

What an honor it was to photograph a grad school colleague of mine who I haven't seen in many years! Rachel and I met at DePaul University in Chicago, where we both received our Masters in Education. After teaching for several years, we have both put our teacher's caps aside temporarily and have taken on the primary role of stay-at-home mom. Reconnecting with Rachel was such a joy and getting to watch her beautiful family play on the beach in late September was a bonus! Rachel and Chris are amazing parents to their gorgeous little guy, Oren. I am so glad they took the time to document moments like these, because we know all too well how quickly time flies. Having photos of memories like these to look back on is something I am hopeful they will cherish for a lifetime. 

margaux

Meet sweet baby Margaux Jacqueline. If you have been wondering why it's been a little quiet around here, this is why. We welcomed our 7 pound keeper into our lives a few weeks ago. Here are just a few photos from her first couple days at home. Her big brother Beau is completely smitten. And as hard as the newborn stage is, we are soaking in every second because I know all too well how quickly it comes and goes. 

Janet + Gia

Meet my good friend Janet, mommy-extraordinaire, and her little ballerina Gia. Janet and I met in a mommy-and-me class and have been connected ever since. I love the way motherhood does that- it brings women together in such cool ways and forms bonds much quicker than ever imagined. Her daughter Gia is quite possibly the sweetest little girl I've ever seen, am I right? Not to mention she has the most endearing personality. Janet and Gia drove down across state lines to do a motherhood session with me, and I am forever grateful. Just look at how precious their bond is? I am so thankful I was able to make and capture some memories with the two of them, and I hope that they will serve as a reminder of their love for each other, years from now. Thank you for allowing me to document life for you, Janet! What a joy it is to stand behind the lens and watch these moments unfold.