Sunday, December 27, 2009

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Christmas morning, I sat on my parents couch watching old family video's and we ran across one from Christmas 1997. I was 13 (and as obnoxious and loud as they come at 13), my baby sister was 9, Gwen was 14, and Abby was 16. The video started with all of us girls coming filing down the stairs (an orderly Christmas tradition in my house) and we took turns opening presents, each taking our turn begging daddy to please phulleeeeezeeee open our present to him. There were cups of tea for my dad, various animals drifting in an out of the frame, and my mom...always attentive to the daughter saying "momma look!". That video could have been from any Christmas, repeating itself in years prior and years to come. And then, as we all got older, boys started showing up in the video's, and Christmas day changed more and more. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday of the year. The energy of the season, the songs with bells in it, the carefully hidden presents stowed away in deep closet corners. It just makes me smile. I've always struggled through the years and Christmas has changed and altered in my family...but there is always the one day. One day that we all congregate at mom and dad's and celebrate Christmas. There is too much food, and dad ends up rubbing his head at the end of the night after listening to his 5 women talk and talk and talk all day long. This year, that day is today...and I'm SO looking forward to sitting with my sisters, playing with my nephew, and just reveling in the family that we have evolved into. Christmas may look different this year, but my excitement for it hasn't changed. This years video will be unique in it's own way, and it's going to be a great day.

Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lifestyle:: Jenni

My mom has a magnet on her fridge that her best friend gave to her, and it says "You'll always be my friend...you know too much." This gorgeous girl here would be one of the few recipients of that magnet from me. We have been friends for 19 years (or is it 20 now? I can't remember anymore) and she is in so many ways my heartbeat. She is the friend that has stood by me through everything memorable in my life. She has stoically disliked old boyfriends, commiserated through family disputes, cried with me through the passing of loved ones, shopped with me for yet another pair of shoes, entertained me for hours upon hours, and stood by me as I said "I do" last year. I could re-count for you years of sleepovers on the living room floor and hiding the sweet tarts that were carefully split between us under the cover of our sleeping bags, countless imaginary "restaurant" setups....charging outrageous amounts for plastic eggs and toast, hours and hours of mariokart...which I never seemed to win, and other childhood memories that factor into the makeup of who I am today. I could tell you about the tough discussions we've had about boys, life, love, God and growing up. But what I really want to tell you, is that I hope that you have a friend like her. Jenni is that person that I know without a doubt will drag herself out of bed at 3 am if I need her. She's the one that I know my kids will one day call "Aunt Jenni". She's the one that I know will have to tell me time and again that what I'm doing really isn't the best decision and help get me back on track. I remember my mom telling me a long time ago that she's my Diana (a reference to Anne of Green Gables). She is the one that is steady, firm, loving and really, the more pulled together one of the Anne and Diana team. Jenni - I love you, and I hope that we will really be those little old ladies together that we've always talked about being.

Yes yes....she is stunning.

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Delicious light...

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It's really a good thing I'm funny.

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This is why best friends are so much fun to shoot....It took me close to 5 minutes to get this shot exactly how I wanted it, and she just stood there and smiled and chatted right along.

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Jenni is actually a photographer herself (check her out HERE!

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Jenni - I love you to peices.

Slideshow!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Morgan and Matthias :: Lifestyle

These two cutie pies are somehow related to me.....I've totally given up trying to figure out exactly how! Their delightful momma is my man's cousin, so I think these two are my cousin-in-law-twice-removed? However it ends up working out, I'm Aunt Beth, and I love it!

I shot Morgan's 3 year photos last year, and was super excited to get together again and we added in the newest addition to the family this time....the little cuddle man, Matthias. Morgan looooves to have her photo taken, and Matthias is perfectly content as long as momma is in sight!

Okay! Some of my favorites!

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Matthias wasn't quite sure what to do with me....but he was a trooper!
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Morgan has the goofiest camera smile - this one was just so impish I couldn't pass it up!
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I loved the light here
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and HELLO he is the cutest.
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Enjoy the slideshow!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mark and Erin :: Engaged!!

Mark and Erin topped off my fabulous weekend of engagement shoots. They were the icing on the cake....you know, the pretty, fun, multi-colored polka dotted kind of icing! These two were so wrapped up in each other, and I'm not sure they actually stopped smiling the whole time!! I have the immense joy of watching all sorts of different kinds of love, and I'm always amazed at the uniqueness of each couple and their expressions of love. Sometimes it's passionate and intense, sometimes it's soft and constant, sometimes its wild and out there, but it's always personal to each set of persons. I always fall in love with every love story I hear...every couple I get to meet and share with, and Mark and Erin were absolutely no exception.

First of all, these two are so personable and friendly, and I immediately fell in love with them! As the day went on, and I cued in more and more on their personalities, I began to see the ways they connect and love each other. Mark is quite possibly the cutest guy in love I've ever seen. I ended up using the phrase "cuddle up" a lot because he would immediately scoop her up, nestle his face close to her and make her giggle. It melted my heart EVERY TIME. He is so captivated by this gorgeous lady and it's evident in the way his eyes sparkle at her, the way he holds her, and come on...he left Sunday football and fantasy football for these photos. True love, my friends! And Erin is....well, she's gorgeous. She has these eyes that pull you in, the cutest smile and infectious laughter. I loved watching her with Mark because she was just so taken with him. She looks at him all the time and has this kind of sizzling energy with him. I could have actually shot them all day!!

Okay okay on to photos. I had to edit their slideshow down from 132 photos so bear with me here....I loved them all!!

First, this one is for Mark. I've been told that he collects antique memorabilia, and he wanted a photo in front of this window because its what his basement looks like!
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We started downtown Crystal Lake.....
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Mark got so excited when he saw that Abba was coming!
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I think I had 15 shots from this particular sequence picked at first....I couldn't pick my favorite!!
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Then we headed over to Veteran's Acres...
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Yes yes yes yes yes....LOVE IT!
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Mark specifically asked for this one with some of the fall colors in it, and the reflection off the lake turned out to be gorgeous!
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Mark and Erin, I am SO excited to be working with you guys and can't wait for the wedding!! Thank you for being willing to traipse all over the place and through the brush for "the shot"! You were fabulous and I can't wait for April!

Enjoy the slideshow!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tim and Meghan :: Engaged!!

I got an email from Meghan just a few weeks ago inquiring into using me for her wedding, and I knew by the way she just about bubbled off the page at me that I wanted to work with her! We emailed back and forth a bit, and then met up last Saturday and fought off the cold for an e-session. When she told me before we even left the parking lot that she had been downtown that morning at the J. Crew bridal "show".....I fell in love :) She has a love of all things J. Crew, and has three sisters too! I'm preeeeetty sure those things add up to being my new favorite friend!

Tim and Meghan were so fantastic to work with and shoot. They were up for quite literally anything I asked of them and were patient enough to let me experiment a little bit too! I don't normally post about the "will you marry me" story, but I have to tell you this little tidbit from their story. It was really important to Meghan that Tim propose somewhere were someone could take a photo of them. So Tim planned the night out, and re-created a date night they had had...complete with a private dinner at the house, with lights and food and music and other such romantic things, and during the course of the night, he proposed! Meghan of course said yes (and I imagine there was a bit of squealing in there) and then thought to herself that there was no one to take a photo of the moment! She was disappointed until she asked about the plastic bag on the counter, and the red dot on it. Turns out?? Tim had videotaped the whole thing!!!!!! How great is that?! My toes curled when they told me....I'm so jealous!!

Okay - first of all...it was cold. This whole weekend was cold, but despite the weather, and the overcast skies, these two glowed and created their own little aura of sunshine. They were so cute!! We traipsed around the Botanical Gardens for a few hours and had a blast!

Here are a few of my absolute favs from the day....

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And my three hands-down favorites:

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Tim is....exceptional with Meghan. I always tell my couples that this isn't your normal "smile and say cheese" kind of shoot, and to move around, touch each other etc etc. Tim GOT it and just loved on this girl so tenderly all day. He looks at her so softly, and touched her like a man in love. It was so great to watch that! I caught this one towards the end of the shoot, and I just love how closely he's hanging on to her. So amazing!!

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TIm and Meghan I can't wait for the wedding! And remember...I'm good at tying bows :)

Enjoy the slideshow!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ben and Sarah :: Engaged!!

Well. Ben and I have known each other basically our whole lives. Our moms have been besties for eons (not that I'm making ANY sort of comment on their age you understand). I remember lots of trips over to the Van Loon house with chocolate donuts for the moms, and the kids being banned to play together in a different room. My recollections of Ben are slightly fuzzy but definitely humor driven. I remember him being a strange little kid ;) Kidding!!! I'm sure he was just being a boy, which me, in my girl-ness, couldn't understand. As our lives moved on, the Van Loons moved to Wisconsin, and I don't remember much of Ben after that. But! A few weeks ago, Michelle (his beautiful momma) facebooked me to tell me that Ben was engaged, and could I take their engagement photos? Sure!! I LOVE shooting people that I'm connected to! So I met Sarah via the socially acceptable form of facebook, and we got a date scheduled.

Despite the touch-and-go weather that greeted us Friday morning, we decided to go for it anyway. That was definitely my first clue that Sarah was a low key personality. I met her and fell in love! She's spunky, smiley, and HELLO so adorable! Ben was exactly as I would have imagined him to grow up...smart, cute, and uber fabulous!

There was a small airfield near the Van Loon's house, so we headed out there, and loved what we saw! Tiny airplanes, colored pole barns, lots of green space, and turkeys! Okay okay, the turkeys weren't exactly on the list, but definitely worth mentioning because I'm pretty sure I'm scared to death of them.

I really don't even know where to start with these two. It's really unbelievably how much these two fit together. They LOVE laughing, like the same music, and share very similar interests. They just...fit. They loved to look at each other, are very playful, and are just so fond of each other. I love seeing that element added into a relationship because it adds sparkle :)

Okay. Here we go!

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yes, yes...Sarah is fabulous!
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Ben hit this with one jump...no repeat necessary!

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Sarah couldn't quite get it, so Ben gave her a little example...

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Sarah's try... :)

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So cute!

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Sarah warned me that one of their "thing"'s is to look annoyed/mad in photos, and to not be alarmed if they start doing it! We did a full out look here...

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And one for fun here...

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I know this is a little out of focus, but sometimes thats just what you need!

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One more....because they're just too fabulous :)

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Enjoy the slideshow!!