Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mark and Kristin :: Married!!

Any day that starts with bright pink shoes is bound to be a good one.

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I walked into Kristin's family home, and was instantly surrounded with the noise of a dozen women laughing and talking, music playing, and little girls running around wildly. It was a beautiful beginning to the day!

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Cooper!

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And now Kristin.

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Kristin is....amazing. She's creative, and detail orientated, and fun, and calm. She put so much effort into making her wedding exactly what she wanted. I'm pretty sure she single handedly kept Etsy afloat over the last 18 months of wedding planning :) Kristin is elegant, and tiny, and personal.

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When Kristin smiles, she makes everyone around her smile. She is laid back and so very easy to love.

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And then there's Mark!

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Mark could quite possibly be everyone's best friend. He has kind eyes, and an easy smile. He's a very peaceful person, and I'm very sure that he's very in love with his wife.

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Before I get to Mark and Kristin together....there is their bridal party.

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It was a wonderful thing to see these two surrounded by so many people that love and support them.

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Okay okay - Mark and Kristin. I hadn't met Mark before the wedding, so I haven't been able to see Kristin with Mark. I've heard so much about him, and loved finally putting all the word pictures together. Mark and Kristin have been together for just about 10 years, and they are so very beautiful together.

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There was a timing snafoo with the limo and we had to leave for the reception sooner than anticipated from the park we were taking photos at, so the three of us actually jumped in my car at the reception hall and sped up the road for a quick few minutes together to grab photos!

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We had delicious light.

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FAVORITE.

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Mark and Kristin - I loved getting to spend your day with you. Have an amazing time in Mexico and Kristin, we'll have to grab dinner when you get back!

Enjoy the slideshow!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Momma Mine :: Personal

The earliest memory I have of my mom was shortly after my little sister was born. I was just about two and a half, and I remember her standing in one of the bedrooms in our house, by the window, holding Hilary and looking down at her. It's just a brief snapshot of memory, just a quick flash, but I love that first memory of her. That memory is followed by one of me being sick, and for some reason we were home alone (rare moments in a house with three sisters), and she was sitting at the table with me, helping with a Bugs Bunny puzzle. You know, the kind with the giant puzzle pieces that fit in a cut out on cardboard. Bugs Bunny was scuba diving for treasure. I remember feeling especially happy in those moments alone with her.

My parents made a huge financial sacrifice when my oldest sister came along, and decided that my mom would stay at home with us instead of work. She homeschooled four girls through all 12 years of school, drove us around to our hundreds of activities, and was there for every day we were sick. As a kid, I took that for granted. As a teenager, I chafted under her being there all the time. But in this current stage of (not quite) adulthood? I am so very grateful that 97% of my life memories include my mom. I am so grateful for the sacrifice that she made, and still makes, in her life to spend all of her time being a mom to me.

Let me tell you a little bit about my momma.

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My momma makes the worlds best homemade macaroni and cheese. She has tried just about every "monthly meal planning" trick out there (feeding a family of 6, along with whatever additional housemates we had at the time, wasn't easy!). She tried to feed us tofu one time in a soup, and we still won't let her live it down. She always uses dried onions, instead of her preference of fresh onions, in food, because my oldest sister hates onions. She makes her homemade potato salad for just about every family gathering because we beg and plead for it, and she can't say no to us! She makes my dad "real" popcorn (in a pot, on the stove) because she knows he loves it. She buys her dogs organic food and treats, because it's "best" for them.

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She can't watch TV, because she gets too sucked in and zones out. She thinks the movie "Babe" is suspenseful and has to leave the room at least 4 different times during it. (Yep. Babe. The one with the pig.) The Emperors New Grove is her favorite movie, and is quoted very often around our house. She watches football with us every season - not because she likes it, but because we just like to have her be in the same room as us, so we make her stay. She will root for Duke to win the NCAA championship every year.

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My momma took care of her momma for years and years and years, through her bad health. After grandma couldn't live with us anymore, my mom would pile us in the car and take us to visit her. She put a lot of time and energy into her mom, and loved her very much. When one of us girls got sick? She'd sit with us for hours on the couch, and put our heads in her lap, and scratch our backs. She's make us eggs and toast, and soothe us to sleep. I had my appendix removed when I was seven, and my mom? She slept every night in the chair next to my bed until I went home. After I had moved out, she made several trips out to take care of me when I was sick or had a migraine.

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My momma is a very gracious person. A very giving person. I can't recall the amount of times I've heard her say "oh, it's just stuff", when something that was lent out was lost into the infamous black hole. She's never held her "stuff" closely. She could care less if someone tracks dirt in the house ("it vacuums up easily"), or if something got spilled on the sofa ("it'll come out"). My mom always thinks people are more important than things.

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My mom loves people. She does. It's something about her that always amazes me. I think she's actually incapable of holding a grudge. And she's one of "those" friends. The kind you always wish you could have - the kind that will always, no matter what the circumstances, be there. She'll take your kids for a day, she'll drive 3 hours to have lunch with you, she'll pick up the phone at 11:00 at night, she'll leave work if you need her. She's THAT kind of friend.

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My momma loves God. She lives her life fully aware of Him, and all that He calls her too, and all that He calls her to be.

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My mom is my #1 fan. She just is. She champions me and supports me. She teaches me and challenges me. Many of you know this, but my mom actually works my photography business with me as my second shooter. She gives up literally days of her life to support my business, and support me, in such a practical way. My mom has fought for years to learn to understand and support the emotional side of me. She has fought to find ways to connect to me emotionally, and love and embrace me in whatever dramatically intense moment I'm in.

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My mom is beautiful. I mean....check-her-out-on-the-street beautiful.

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My mom is a grandma. And she's a wonderful grandma. She's a grandma, in much of the same ways she's been a mom. She gives up adult conversation for playtime; she spends meal time making sure her grandbabies are taken care of; she is forever buying something for her little men.

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If you've skimmed this long post, hear this. My mom is amazing. She's beautiful. She has an unbelievably large heart. She loves deeply, and sacrifices much. And mom? I'm so grateful that you're mine.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mike and Jill :: Engaged!! (Chicago Botanical Gardens, Glenco IL)

I have a few fleeting glimpses in my memory of Jill from when she was (I think) in high school. She was friends with the sister of the guy my sister was dating (yep..follow that bouncing ball!) and I remember her in the vague context of groups of people over for various get togethers. There are vague recollections of her from when I was living with the sister of the guy my sister was dating (okay, married by now), again just vague impressions of her in my memory from days in the past. So even though I knew OF Jill for years and years, I had never had the distinct pleasure of actually knowing Jill. So I went to meet her and Mike for their engagement shoot, and I was immediately captured by this wonderfully intensely emotional woman, and the man that was perfectly content to stand by her side, smile at her, laugh with her, and gaze at her.

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Mike and Jill met at the school they both work at, and even though it took a bit of work on Jill's part...she finally made Mike realize that they had found their match, and could commence with the falling madly in love!

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Jill smiles. A lot. At Mike...at me...at the people that passed us...at flowers...at water fountains...get the picture yet? She smiles at everything. Joy is an emotion she holds very close to her.

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Mike smiles a lot with Jill. But he does a lot of looking. At her. At Jill. At this woman he has asked to grow old with him. He watches her. He connects with her.

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It's really a very beautiful thing to see them together.

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Jill and I were discussing weather about 3 hours before we met, and weather online was showing partly cloudy for the time we were supposed to meet. Well, partly cloudy turned into all cloudy by the time we started, and Jill told me she didn't care about the clouds, but that she was disappointed because she really loved sun flare. I swear that between Jill and I, we wished so hard that we got a break in the clouds to give us just a few minutes of sun - enough time to grab a few shoots with flare. Jill - these are for you!

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Jill specifically asked for some photos with a weeping willow. Mike asked her very early on in their relationship what tree she would describe herself as, and Jill responded with a weeping willow. Not because Jill is a sorrowful person, but because tears come easily. She is a tender woman, and her tears are beautiful.

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You two are so wonderful, and I absolutely can not wait for your wedding.

Until October!