Friday, August 27, 2010

What It's Like....

Most of you probably know that my mother passed away around six months ago. As time has passed and because my mom was young, I've had several friends ask what it's like to lose your mother.
In a phrase: It's odd.

You think that you can still call her and tell her a story. When something happens, you think to yourself, "I can't wait to tell Mom that...she'll think that's hysterical." More often than not, these things are about your children. No one besides your mom is more excited to hear stories or tidbits about the weirdo or amazing things your kids have done. I think that that has been the hardest part about losing Mom...even though she'd gone through everything with her own five kids and with her first five grandkids, whenever Colby would do something new, Mom would act like she was the first child ever to walk, sit up, eat cereal, etc. And I never realized that until after she was gone. All of us a sudden, a cheering section I previously hadn't acknowledged existed was gone.

The other thing is that the oddest, weirdest situations, comments, or items can bring a tear to your eye. I had two of them this week.

First, my friend Sara posted this post on her blog. I laughed hysterically. In Mom's bedroom at the farmhouse she had this old chest of drawers that had sheet sets still in the packages that were at least 20 years old. She was saving them for 'good'. I used to tease her and ask when the Queen of England was coming for a visit. One of the pillowsheet sets had fancy eyelet stuff sewed on the the edges...I wanted to use those pillowcases SO bad, and she wouldn't let me. She was saving them for 'good'. When I went to college and had to buy sheets for my bed, I bought the white pillowcases with the eyelet decorations at the end. :)

Second, I canned tomato juice this week. Mom used to do that when we were growing up and she used this "Squeeze-It" thing that attaches to your countertop to make juicing the tomatoes faster. I bought one off of e-bay a few years back, but it didn't have the wood plunger with it. So, a couple of Christmases ago, Mom found and bought me the wood plunger as a gift. I hadn't used it yet until I got into my box of canning supplies this week. It made me smile.

I keep an 11x14 of this picture in our living and us girls at my cousin's wedding last year. And, while I do love to sit in my chair and glance over at it on occasion....

....I find it's weird things like wood plungers for juicing tomatoes that really tug at my heart strings and make me miss Mom.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Richardson Family

A few years back I was involved in a group called the Illinois Ag Leadership Group...a group of 30 individuals in the state of Illinois that spends two years together studying both the domestic and international ag markets. At the end of the first year, we spend time in D.C. studying ag policy, and the end of the second year we take a 2-week trip abroad to study ag in a foreign country. This program is fantastic for exposing you to the many diverse facets of agriculture policy, markets, and infrastructure on an international basis. But, even more than that is how you get to spend two years with some of the most intelligent and fascinating people in Illinois agriculture. That's how I met Keri.

Keri was one of the few other girls in the program when I went through it. And, we literally toured the U.S, Canada, Hong Kong, China, and India together. I've spent more hours on a plane with Keri than my own husband!

Small world that it is, Keri and her husband are originally from Sullivan. They were moving back home, and her father...who is our mailman...told her about someone on his route that was a photographer (I get a LOT of photography mail). Keri looked me up, and low and behold, we discovered that we now live 20 minutes from each other.

A few weeks ago, I got to catch up with Keri and her family in Sullivan for their new family pictures! Keri, it's so good to see you again...and to see your beautiful family...and I hope we can start seeing more of each other!

Below are a few of my favorites. Click here to see a few more!

One of the main reasons for the shoot was to take Lane's 5yo pictures! The last time I saw Keri she was pregnant with Lane! Geesh...time flies. Anyway, I love this sums up the whole session...Lane running and playing games while I snapped away on occasion.

Lane and lil' sister Devin (sic?)....Why did this image make my favorites? Because...I laughed out loud when I saw it. I think it's foretelling of how they'll be as teenagers! The looks on their faces still crack me up as I sit here typing!

Sweet lil' girl on her own. She was studying the flowers all on her own...unprompted.

This is my all-time favorite image of Lane. Love this one in every way, shape, and form.

You can set it up, pose everyone, do anything possible to get everyone's attention and a great smile......

...but sometimes the best family portrait is when everyone collapses on a bench at the end of a session!
Love you guys and so glad you're close!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our Newest Residents

These guys are currently VERY important people in our house...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Josh and Jenna: A Wedding

I am blessed to get work with the most beautiful people...both inside and out...and the wedding of Josh and Jenna Layton was no exception.

Josh and Jenna have dated for years, but over the last couple of years, they've lived hundreds of miles apart, as Josh has lived on the East coast while serving our country in the military. Now, anyone that knows me well knows that I have a soft spot for anyone who chooses to dedicate a time of their life to serving our country...and so, with the beautiful wedding over the 4th of July weekend...well, let's just say I teared up a few times over the course of the day!

Usually, I pick out my favorite 80-100 images of the day to highlight in the slide show, but there were too many that I, there's 223 of them to go through...Yep! 223 "favorites!"

Josh and Jenna, thank you so much for allowing me to document your day, your story, and your love for each other. I am so happy for you both, and wish you nothing but God's blessings as you begin your life together.


ps - the images of Josh and Jenna alone were taken at the park where Josh and Jenna were also engaged. I love personal touches like this...