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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Just Married…Again! Senti & Zack {Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer}

He was offered his dream job in Colorado. After dating for over three years, he knew they were going to last. So, on October 29, 2015 Zack and Senti got married at the courthouse with a small number of family members and moved to Colorado as husband and wife the next day. On June 4, 2016 they gathered again in downtown Springfield to celebrate and reaffirm their marriage vows in front of all their family and friends. Senti and Zack, may you enjoy a long life together full of laughter and adventures!snzwedding-623-2-lowressnzwedding-448-lowres-2snzwedding-011-lowressnzwedding-203-lowressnzwedding-204-lowressnzwedding-211-lowressnzwedding-213-lowressnzwedding-214-lowressnzwedding-216-lowressnzwedding-469-2-lowres3snzwedding-249-lowressnzwedding-247-lowressnzwedding-260-lowressnzwedding-271-lowres5snzwedding-545-2-lowressnzwedding-577-2-lowres

The day turned from cloud and rain to sun and heat. I turned around from pictures with the guys to witness the bridesmaids helping to air the bride out.

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Vendors:

Ceremony and Reception: Central Baptist Church

Flowers: Hyvee

Catering: Hyvee

Hair: Jessica from Snips Hair Salon

Rodden Family Session: Springfield Illinois Photographer

This family is FUN! My job was easy because they let their individual personalities shine. I can’t believe how well the outfits each girl wore spoke to who they are and still complimented each other. Plus I love all the colors. Nothing makes me happier as a photographer to capture people just as they are! We met through a small group at our church, so I had fun talking to them and getting to know them better throughout the session. Thanks for such a fun evening, Rodden family!rodden-145-lowresrodden-270-lowresrodden-113-lowresrodden-136-lowresrodden-262-lowres32rodden-207-lowres1rodden-183-lowresrodden-196-lowres4rodden-246-lowresrodden-130-lowresrodden-385-lowres

Lifestyle Newborn Session: Baby ‘R’ {Springfield Illinois Photographer}

This sweet bundle was fast asleep when I arrived for his newborn session. I couldn’t help but smile watching all his facial expressions and how his older siblings loved to help take care of him. I’m so thankful to have been able to capture the joy and love this family is experiencing welcoming this little one home.

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Austin Powers above and completely done with this session below!

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Stuck in the 50’s: Johnny’s Diner with Friends

My friends and I have really enjoyed some fun stylized shoots with our kids. The girl’s lemonade stand started it all and then the boys wanted a shoot just for them, so the baseball idea was born. Then my friend Mandy had the idea to do a 50’s shoot for the boys and girls. She was so excited when she found Johnny’s Diner. I can’t imagine a more perfect setting for what we were envisioning. Johnny was incredibly gracious to let us use his diner and we are so thankful to have these images. These kids were friends from the time they were in our wombs-they are more like cousins really. We have made some incredible memories and I’m certain we will make many more in the years to come. Now, enjoy a little trip back in time:)johnnysdiner-124-lowresjohnnysdiner-126-lowresjohnnysdiner-301-lowres123johnnysdiner-212-lowresjohnnysdiner-122-lowresjohnnysdiner-121-lowresjohnnysdiner-091-lowres8johnnysdiner-158-lowresjohnnysdiner-114-lowres

The boys aren’t quite sure what to do when you ask them to show their muscles…

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The girls on the other hand know just what to do in front of the camera;)

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Let’s try the muscle pic again.

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This last pic is pretty special to me. My friends, Melanie and Mandy, are basically family to me. We became friends very early on after Jonathan and I moved to Ohio. Though it wasn’t planned, the girls talking in the background behind us is just perfect because it reminds me of how their friendship is a reflection of ours. These ladies are precious to me. We have been through a lot together and raising our kids up together during the past 8 years has included some of my fondest memories. Now we get to look forward to future vacations together to make more memories:)

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San Jose, Costa Rica: My time at Roblealto

One of the most amazing weeks of my life was spent on a mission trip to Costa Rica this past February. A team from the Stow Campus of Christ Community Chapel travelled to San Jose to serve at Roblealto’s Bible Home. Someone from our team described Roblealto as a place that radiated God’s love. I felt it all week long. Every time I reflect back on the week I feel like I was given glimpses of heaven.

The land  Roblealto owns and lives off of is breathtaking, but the people we spent the week with reminded me more of heaven than anything. The staff at Roblealto are nothing short of amazing and selflessly serve all the children that come through their gates. Roblealto Child Care Association is run extremely well. (Click on Roblealto to learn more about who they are and what they do) The staff is showing Christ’s love every day to these children so that they know a love like any other.

Some of these children are coming from homes where they are neglected or even abused, while other’s parents are working so hard to make ends meet, they may not have enough money to feed their children. Roblealto provides a safe home full of love and all the necessities the children need. They do all of this because they want to restore these families and change their futures.

These first set of images are from my first morning on the grounds at Roblealto. I was able to wake up early before the sun rose and sit on top of a hill to watch the clouds roll in. The red roofed building below are the chicken coops. Roblealto has a fully functioning farm that not only feeds the staff and children, but also provides jobs and helps to fund Roblealto.

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The kids headed to school in the morning right before we would start work at the construction site. This particular morning happened to be laundry day, so those are the black bags you see some of them carrying down on their way to school.

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While the kids were at school we worked on the Eden house. Roblealto currently has 9 functioning  homes and when the Eden house is complete, they will be able to take in 10 more children bringing them to full capacity with 100 children. We worked alongside a local construction team to help frame, drywall and gravel the house.

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The kids were getting out of school just before our work day ended and then we got to hang out with them for a couple hours. Most of this time was spent playing soccer (better known as futbol).

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In the evening we got to spend time with the kids in the different houses we were assigned to. We had activities that we would do with them and every night before we left our house we circled up to pray together. We were fortunate enough to have someone in the house who spoke english and could translate what the boys were saying. One night hit me hard when one of the boys prayed for his mom to come visit him. I had to swallow back some tears. But it really reminded me of why I was there.

These boys were hugging us and pulling us all over their house asking us questions from the first moment we walked through their front door. I couldn’t help think of my children who would have hid behind me if someone new walked through the door. These boys knew why we were there. They knew we loved the same God and this same BIG God loves them so much he sends all sorts of people into their lives at Roblealto to help remind them of this. Some of those people include their house family. They are as loving and selfless as anyone I have ever met. They give up their own family time to love on these boys and help raise them up and their love and sacrifice and they had such an impact on me.

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The next two pictures fill  my heart with joy to remember how the boys and family interacted in the Arco Iris house. They laughed and hugged a lot and made each other feel important and loved.

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When you meet these kids you want to be a part of their life. It is not easy to say good-bye to them. Fortunately, we can keep in touch through letters and we have the opportunity to sponsor a child as well. You can too if you want! Some of the coolest moments were getting to see the children as they were introduced to someone on the team who would be sponsoring them. How often do you get to actually meet a child you sponsor?!

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My friend went on the last trip the church took to Roblealto and was able to send a letter and gift for the boy she decided to sponsor. He was so excited when he was told she sent him a letter and I loved watching him read it. You can become family even from a distance.

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By the end of the week we made a lot of progress on the Eden house. I can’t wait hear when it is finished and know there are 10 more children that will be blessed by this place.

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The sunset was beautiful the last night we were there. I ran all the way up and down those hills trying to capture it before it went down.

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We had a great team. We worked hard, laughed hard and cried hard. For weeks after the trip I was trying to process through all the emotions, not just from leaving Costa Rica, but we literally moved from Ohio to Illinois one week after I returned from this trip. I love how God uses so many people in our lives to connect us and teach us new things about Him. I learned something from each of the individuals in the photo above, as well as the wonderful people we met in Costa Rica.

Two weekends ago I was sitting with my new church family listening to a sermon on Revelations 7:9-17:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice,“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these,clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15  “Therefore they are before the throne of God,

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

16  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;

the sun shall not strike them,

nor any scorching heat.

17  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,

and he will guide them to springs of living water,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

YES! This is what it felt like to serve alongside my fellow brothers and sisters in Costa Rica. Something resonated with me as I sat and listened to my Pastor speak on this group of people in white robes all shouting together, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” One day, people of all tribes, from all nations will come together and proclaim this very truth. I got a glimpse of this while I was in Costa Rica and I’m forever grateful for that experience.