Pokemon Party: Nolan’s 6th Birthday

This past weekend we celebrated Nolan’s 6th birthday with a Pokemon party. He was so excited before everyone arrived. All week long he asked, “How many days until my party?!” The party was so much fun, but my sweet, fun-loving boy deals with some serious social anxieties. As soon as we were gathered around a table and the focus was on him, he shut down. Now, I could still see glimpses of grins to know he was having fun, but he did not say a word to anyone.

You can see further down in the picture with his cupcakes that he turned around when everyone started singing. His friends had to blow his candles out for him. Some people may think my son is just being rude and that is ok because they don’t know him. And if I’m being honest, I’m still marveling in the miracle of him willingly walking into kindergarten every day without tears. He is comfortable with consistency and by consistency I mean he needs the same “constant” people in his every day life, such as the same Sunday school teacher each week or the same friends to play with etc.

As soon as we got outside and everyone dispersed for games, Nolan could breath again and he enjoyed moments with friends in smaller groups. Everyone had a blast hunting for Pokemon characters, doing a poke ball egg hunt and playing red-light, green-light while acting like a specific Pokemon character that was called out. Red-light, green-light was a hit so we came back out after dinner and cupcakes and played for 20 more minutes until all the parents arrived to pick everyone up. By this time, Nolan had warmed up to the party and was acting like his goofy self, which always helps me to relax and makes my heart smile.

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Nolan, these past six years of life with you have been amazing. I love being your mom! I pray you will grow into a confident young man who knows there is a God who loves you no matter what, is with you always and is SO much BIGGER than your fears and anxieties. I can see your soul come to life when you are smiling and sharing your sweet personality with those around you. And let’s not forget your incredible laugh, the world needs to hear more of it. Happy Birthday, my sweet 6-year-old!

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Washington Park Botanical Garden Engagement: Abigail+John

They both attended the same university, but it wasn’t until after they graduated that their romantic relationship began. John eventually moved up to Springfield and stated his intentions for Abigail and the rest is history. Washington Park was where he popped the question, so naturally it seemed like a great place to take engagement photos. We even took some photos on the very bench the proposal happened. Also, can you tell they are big Old Miss fans? These two made their session fun with their laughter, smiles and kisses and I am really looking forward to their wedding this upcoming December!abigailjohn-008abigailjohn-027-lowres1abigailjohn-302-lowresabigailjohn-212-lowresabigailjohn-208-lowres3abigailjohn-104-lowresabigailjohn-066-lowresabigailjohn-251-lowresabigailjohn-266-lowresabigailjohn-418-lowres2abigailjohn-349-lowresabigailjohn-352-lowresabigailjohn-363-lowres

Firestone Country Club: Leah+Mike {Illinois Wedding Photographer}

They have loved each other since they were in the sixth grade and have been each other’s biggest fans ever since. It wasn’t long before I realized that all who surrounded the couple on their wedding were their biggest fans as well.

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Their wedding day was HOT and there were a few minor hiccups as we approached the wedding ceremony. For instance, after Leah stepped into her wedding gown, her bridesmaids soon realized the latch on the back had fallen off. Not too mention, when they bent down to put her shoes on they noticed the bottom of her dress was still pinned. The bridal shop forgot to finish hemming. No big deal! They found some scissors and started cutting away. The mother-of-the-bride’s reaction was priceless! The bride was unfazed and remained calm and laughed through it all.

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I love when a bride does a first look with her father.

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When we arrived at the church, we soon found out the air conditioning in the bridal suite was broken, so everyone fanned the bride down as she sat patiently as someone sewed a latch onto the back of her dress. Meanwhile, they guys were chilling in the air conditioning without a care in the world.

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I love Mike’s huge grin when he sees his gorgeous bride for the first time.

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Everyone wants a picture of the bride and groom…

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The ceremony was beautiful and it wasn’t long before we were in a caravan of golf carts driving around Firestone golf course. The breeze helped cool everyone off and pictures couldn’t have gone smoother. It wasn’t long and we were back at the club to get the party started.

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Gahhhh! I love her dress so much. Pockets. Who doesn’t love a dress with pockets?! You absolutely are stunning, Leah.

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The reception was beautiful, but the cake table was something to behold. The bride’s father, grandfather and uncle (they own a family business) worked tirelessly on the wedding cake and wow was it incredible!

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Time to party!

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Leah and Mike, I so loved being a part of your day and capturing all the special moments. Congratulations to you both and many, many blessings!

~Jen

Lifestyle Newborn Photography:Tessa Grace {Springfield Illinois Photographer}

When we moved to Springfield five months ago, one of the first things we learned about our neighbors was they were going to become great grandparents this summer. This sweet baby was spoken about with so much joy and anticipation long before she entered the world. She is also the first grand baby on each side and her grandparents and great grandparents go to church with us so it was fun to get updates all summer long. I was so excited to get to meet and photograph Tessa and her parents.

When I arrived she was fast asleep. Her parents had a cute little number for her to wear for pictures so they worked on changing her and she soon realized something was going on and woke up. After a couple feedings, swaddling, and rocking we thought she was back to sleep. She was back to sleep for a minute or so, but mostly she just wanted to see what was going on. I love all the shots of her yawning! She was so tired and so awake at the same time and I loved how attentive she was to her parents and how she would stare up at them with those big bright eyes.

*I would like to note that her grandma made the beautiful gray and purple blanket Tessa was photographed on in these images.tessa-007-lowrestessa-002-lowrestessa-015-lowrestessa-009-lowres3tessa-040-lowrestessa-037-lowrestessa-023-lowrestessa-057-lowrestessa-092-lowrestessa-076-lowrestessa-078-lowrestessa-160-lowrestessa-085-lowrestessa-156-lowrestessa-135-lowres2tessa-246-lowrestessa-313-lowres1tessa-302-lowrestessa-289-lowres

Mapleside Farms: Kaitlyn&Zak {Illinois Wedding Photographer}

Incredible blue skies and a beautiful venue set the backdrop for Kaitlyn and Zak’s wedding day. Kaitlyn was as calm as a bride could be and Zak provided the comedic relief for the day. Between the two of them and their wonderful wedding party, they made the day pure fun. I even called the groom by the wrong name several times and he was gracious enough to laugh it off every time.  I loved getting to photograph the details of this day. Watching the sun go down over Mapleside Farms as the dancing began was breathtaking and somehow the dance floor stayed busy all night thanks to Jesse Webb Entertainment. Driving away at the end of the night with the barn still full of light and line dancing party-goers put a smile on my face. This wedding day was one of my favorites by far. K+ZWed-146-lowresK+ZWed-949-lowres13K+ZWed-227-lowres24K+ZWed-280-lowresK+ZWed-287-lowres5K+ZWed-882K+ZWed-873-lowresK+ZWed-951-lowresK+ZWed-902K+ZWed-1191-lowresK+ZWed-1263-lowresK+ZWed-1276-lowresK+ZWed-1311-lowresK+ZWed-1488-lowres6K+ZWed-593-lowresK+ZWed-396K+ZWed-413-lowresK+ZWed-432-lowresK+ZWed-1446-lowres7K+ZWed-1025-lowresK+ZWed-1048-lowres8K+ZWed-2010-lowresK+ZWed-2025-lowresK+ZWed-2013-lowresK+ZWed-2011-lowres9K+ZWed-2428K+ZWed-1728-lowresK+ZWed-2637K+ZWed-1731-lowresK+ZWed-2571K+ZWed-2607K+ZWed-2736K+ZWed-2772K+ZWed-2802

Buddy the Horse and the Sines Family Farm {Springfield Illinois Photographer}

Buddy the horse has been an exciting addition to the Sines family. Last winter they worked hard to fence in their pasture and turn their existing chicken coop into a barn. They had friends who needed to find a new home for Buddy and the three pigmy goats that have been his life companions. Lindsay and Scot have always wanted a farm, so this was the perfect opportunity. Since then, Lilli has been taking riding lessons with Buddy and it was fun to watch her with him. Their youngest son, Zeke was able to sit on Buddy for the first time while I was there and his reaction was priceless! In some ways its hard to remember what their place was like without the farm because they are naturals with all that goes into taking care of the animals and maintaining everything.

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5 Novaks and a Bus {Springfield Illinois Photographer}

There once were two kids who fell in love and got married…

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had babies…

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bought an RV…

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And then SOLD their house and belongings. Now they are preparing to travel the country for 10 months and homeschool their children along the way!

We have been friends for the past 10 years and our kids have been friends since they were in the womb. Seriously, they are more like family than anything.

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Last week they made a trip south and visited us in Illinois for a few days along the way. I’m here to tell you there is never a dull moment with these Novaks! Life can get crazy, but they know how to always make it fun. We took them to try their first Illinois horseshoe, toured Lincoln’s home, swam, stayed up late playing Dominion Intrigue and Love Letter (we bonded over board games 10 years ago), disciplined boys who peed in my daughter’s trash can (ugh, not a proud moment), combed lice out of hair and did many loads of laundry. See, I told you there is never a dull moment. We were reminded how blessed we are by such FUN friends; friends we are sure to have for life.

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Now, if you are intrigued and want to follow them on their crazy journey, check out Melanie’s blog 5 Novaks and a Bus for how this whole plan came to be and to read about their upcoming adventures. You can also follow them on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram. What are you waiting for? I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

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