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.

rustin-036-lowresrustin-041-lowresrustin-032-lowresrustin-027-lowresrustin-026-lowres1rustin-055-lowresrustin-067-lowresrustin-081-lowresrustin-101-lowresrustin-200-lowres

Austin Powers above and completely done with this session below!

rustin-204-lowres

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…

4

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

5johnnysdiner-168-lowresjohnnysdiner-175-lowresjohnnysdiner-206-lowres6

Let’s try the muscle pic again.

johnnysdiner-280-lowresjohnnysdiner-275-lowresjohnnysdiner-269-lowres

johnnysdiner-242-lowres7johnnysdiner-251-lowresjohnnysdiner-326-lowresjohnnysdiner-291-lowres

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:)

johnnysdiner-289-lowres

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.

CR2016-014-lowresCR2016-025-lowresCR2016-018-lowresCR2016-039-lowresCR2016-030-lowres6CR2016-074-lowresCR2016-077-lowres

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.

CR2016-577-lowresCR2016-574-lowresCR2016-590-lowresCR2016-592-lowresCR2016-597-lowres

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.

CR2016-094-lowresCR2016-105-lowres7

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).

CR2016-309-lowresCR2016-319-lowresCR2016-352-lowresCR2016-322-lowresCR2016-378-lowresCR2016-370-lowresCR2016-394-lowresCR2016-331-lowres3CR2016-287-lowresCR2016-308-lowresCR2016-285-lowres

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.

CR2016-698-lowresCR2016-464-lowres5CR2016-503-lowresCR2016-477-lowresCR2016-510-lowresCR2016-519-lowresCR2016-526-lowresCR2016-540-lowres

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.

CR2016-549-lowresCR2016-551-lowresCR2016-562-lowres

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?!

CR2016-615-lowres2

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.

CR2016-605-lowresCR2016-608-lowres

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.

CR2016-689-lowresCR2016-694-lowresCR2016-690-lowresCR2016-789-lowres

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.

CR2016-800-lowresCR2016-807-lowresCR2016-790-lowresCR2016-811-lowresCR2016-929-lowres

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.

Brookside Farms Wedding: Allison&Sean

Prepare yourself for one of my longest posts of images. Ally and Sean’s day was the most perfect way to end out the 2015 year for my photography business. When we arrived to the farmhouse at Brookside Farms, music was playing and everyone was relaxed and having a good time. I remember being really aware of how happy the vibe was. This sounds normal for a wedding day I know, but you would be surprised at the wide array of energy coming from people on wedding days. This particular group of people had an impact on me and I was so excited to photograph this joyful day. I honestly don’t even know how to put the whole day into words without sounding cliche. Ally and Sean’s wedding was incredibly special and everything from the material they chose for their rings had meaning. These two are incredible together and they will serve this world in a great way because of their hearts and their strong relationship with the Lord. Ally and Sean, thank you for trusting me to tell the story of your wedding day through these images. Congratulations and best wishes to you both in this life together. Enjoy!swanson-002-lowres1swanson-032-lowresswanson-057-lowresswanson-062-lowresswanson-064-lowresswanson-092-lowres3swanson-133-lowresswanson-124-lowresswanson-126-lowres4swanson-170-lowresswanson-171-lowres5swanson-186-lowres6swanson-258-lowresswanson-262-lowresswanson-304-lowres7swanson-050-lowres98swanson-677-lowresswanson-695-lowresswanson-705-lowresswanson-899-lowresswanson-888-lowres10swanson-813-lowresswanson-451-lowresswanson-487-lowresswanson-486-lowres11swanson-497-lowresswanson-499-lowresswanson-1118-lowres12swanson-1038-lowresswanson-1041-lowresswanson-1863-lowresswanson-1866-lowresswanson-1871-lowres

Mapleside Farms Wedding: Kristen+Billy

Kristen and Billy’s wedding day was relaxed and fun just like the two of the them. Though the skies were clear, their wedding just happened to take place on one of the coldest and windiest days we have had in Northeast Ohio so far. Despite the chill in the air, the events of the day were beautiful.

Kristen got her hair and make-up done at Studio Palmieri in downtown Cleveland and then headed over to Metropolitan Hotel at The 9 to finish getting ready. When I walked into her hotel room and saw her dress and SHOES I was so excited. And then I saw a lovely red chair sitting in front of huge windows and I could not wait to photograph Kristen in that chair.1K+Bwed-035-lowres2K+Bwed-082-lowres3K+Bwed-173-lowres

Kristen and Billy didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony but wanted to get some pictures together in the vault  before heading to Mapleside. 4K+Bwed-184-lowres

I seriously love the new trend of colored shoes with a white wedding dress. K+Bwed-187-lowresCold weather does not stop people in the area from getting out and enjoying fun fall activities. Mapleside Farms was crawling with people, but inside the lodge, these two were able to have and intimate and cozy ceremony and reception. 5K+Bwed-301-lowres6K+Bwed-353-lowres

This bride was a trooper! She had everyone head outside for pictures and didn’t complain once as we swapped family and bridal party members in and out for pictures with her and the groom. The wind was CRAZY and ladies and gents alike had hair flying around in their faces, but you really just can’t get married at Mapleside and not take advantage of their picturesque setting. K+Bwed-476-lowres7K+Bwed-499-lowresK+Bwed-461-lowresK+Bwed-508-lowresK+Bwed-1520-lowres8We warmed up for a few minutes and then it was time to get the party started. This was my first cake pop wedding cake and those cake pops were absolutely some of THE best cake I have ever tasted. The lodge was decorated beautifully and the evening was a blast. Every person seemed to be in party mode and was ready for a good time. The dance floor was hoppin’ and it was fun to feel all the energy in the room. K+Bwed-823-lowresK+Bwed-867-lowresK+Bwed-917-lowres9K+Bwed-1603-lowresK+Bwed-1063-lowresK+Bwed-1237-lowresK+Bwed-1430-lowresK+Bwed-1722-lowresK+Bwed-1692-lowresK+Bwed-1854-lowresK+Bwed-1788-lowres

Congratulations, Kristen and Billy! Thank you for trusting us to capture such and important day in your lives. Many blessings to you both in your life together.

Oh Christmas Tree

This year I wanted to do things as simple as possible and I was thinking we weren’t going to get a tree. But when we got home from Thanksgiving, we all agreed we needed one. I sent a picture of our tree to my mom today and she told me I’m so predictable. She knew all along I was just talk. Most likely she knows me better than I know myself:)

In past years we have gone to Lowes. We walk up and down the three or four aisles of trees until my husband just gives in me gets the tree I want. Seldom do we agree on Christmas trees;) This year I wanted the experience and today was really a pretty gorgeous day, so we tried out Shawnee Trail Tree Farm in Hudson, Ohio. We knew it was the place to be when we drove up to a completely full parking lot. In the first five minutes we found a tree that the hubby and I immediately agreed upon and then had fun perusing the rest of the time. Bonus,we ran into good friends who offered to take a picture of the four of us!

I’m sold. A tree farm is the way to go! And now that I finished all my Christmas shopping on the way home from Illinois (thank you, Amazon) and our tree is up, I’m ready to enjoy all the fun activities of the season with people I truly love.

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree…

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

 

An Adoption Story: Samuel and Benjamin

Ben and Sammy were brought home to their forever family from China this past June. They are from different provinces of China and have their own individual upbringings through foster homes and foster families, but brought together to be brothers for life. I think it is so special they had each other to help make the transition a little easier.

When they arrived in the United States they did not speak any English, but I would have never known because when I arrived to their home 5 months later, they were speaking very clear English. They are homeschooled with their other brothers and sister and they seem to be right at home. Ben and Sammy were very energetic right from the start and I could tell they love being silly with their family. You will be able to see from the images below that they are loving life and having fun.

I’m thankful to have been connected with this family. At the beginning of 2015 I decided I wanted to help adoptive families by blessing them with family photos, but I wasn’t sure how to go about offering that. Then towards the end of January I got an email asking about doing ‘gotcha day’ pictures for these boys. While we didn’t do pictures right when they came home, it was clear waiting until these boys were more comfortable was the best plan. I actually  think it allowed me to capture their family dynamic and who they really are. Let me also point out how neat it is that these took place during National Adoption Month.

Ben and Sammy’s mom told me they are always looking at the old family photo hanging on the wall (they are not in it) and she can’t wait to get a new one up that includes them. I can’t wait for these boys to see their new family picture hanging on the wall and for it to be a reminder of the love our Heavenly Father has for each of them every time they look at it.

What a blessing it was for to meet this amazing family and hear their story. If you know of any newly adoptive families that could use some family photos, please send them my way.

 

31wiggers-118-lowreswiggers-075-lowres2wiggers-223-lowreswiggers-210-lowreswiggers-234-lowres

A Wedding at Landerhaven: Justin+Lindsey

10.09.2015 was a cold, wet day, but it was made beautiful by smiles, laughter and fun shared at Justin and Lindsey’s wedding. The girls got ready at Lindsey’s parent’s house and their yard provided the perfect fall backdrop for some photos. 1L+Jwed-1152-lowresWhen it came time to put Lindsey’s dress on for pictures, she discovered the ribbon needed to lace up the back of her dress was missing! Her sister came to the rescue with a white shoe string. The shoestring worked perfectly and allowed us to get some photos while waiting for the ribbon to arrive from the dress shop. I loved how chill Lindsey was about all of it. 2L+Jwed-1229-lowresMeanwhile, the guys were just hanging out at Justin’s house and getting ready moments before it was time to head to Ursuline College for the bride and groom’s first look.

3L+Jwed-111-lowres4L+Jwed-137-lowresL+Jwed-142-lowresL+Jwed-143-lowres5L+Jwed-527-lowresL+Jwed-257-lowres6L+Jwed-1291-lowres

We couldn’t have been more lucky because moments after the above image was taken, we all piled in cars to head to the ceremony and as we drove away the rain started pouring down. Thankfully the rain didn’t last too long. As we arrived at Landerhaven it started to slow down just in time for the ceremony.

7L+Jwed-788-lowresL+Jwed-810-lowresL+Jwed-841-lowres9L+Jwed-1092-lowresL+Jwed-1461-lowresL+Jwed-1449-lowresL+Jwed-1620-lowresL+Jwed-1641-lowres

The reception was beautiful and when we took off everyone was dancing the night away. We had such a fun day working with an amazing couple and their wonderful friends and family. Congratulations, Lindsey and Justin and blessings for a long and happy life together!

St. Ann Wedding: Courtney+Ricky

September 26, 2015 was a beautiful fall day here in Northeast Ohio and it just happened to be Courtney and Ricky’s wedding day. The bride got ready at the Wyndham hotel at Playhouse Square and the view from her window was awesome. All the bridesmaids were ready when we arrived and they helped Courtney get into her dress. She looked stunning. I LOVE her blue shoes and her dress had pockets! After getting a few pictures of the bride we were off to the beautiful and historic St. Ann Church.
10
2C+R(wedding)-106-lowresC+R(wedding)-154-lowresC+R(wedding)-159-lowres3C+R(wedding)-1210-lowres

One of my favorite parts of the day is turning around to see what a groom’s reaction is to seeing his bride for the first time. Rick’s smile did not disappoint. Courtney looked radiant and the ceremony was beautiful from beginning to end.

C+R(wedding)-1265-lowres4

We had a few hours between the ceremony and reception, so we hit up different parts of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and Cleveland Museum of Art. I have never had so much time to photograph the couple and bridal party! Having that much time  was great and completely relaxed.

C+R(wedding)-471-lowres5C+R(wedding)-1366-lowres6C+R(wedding)-1292-lowres

The gang celebrated by popping open some champagne before heading to Night Town for the reception. Night Town has a cool, eclectic feel, with an intimate setting. I should also mention the food was delicious.

7

Everyone was ready to party and the rest of the night was a fun celebration. The Sunrise Jones provided live music for the reception and they were awesome. Ricky and Courtney even had the opportunity to surprise some of their guests by performing with the band. The dance floor was small, but packed with fun people dancing the night away.C+R(wedding)-892-lowres8C+R(wedding)-1062-lowres9C+R(wedding)-1894-lowresC+R(wedding)-1874-lowres

Courtney and Rick, I wish you all the best in this life together. There is no doubt in my mind that you two will enjoy a very fun journey together. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Ferrara!