2018 was an exciting year! In April, my best friend and I found out we were pregnant on the same day! She was due December 29th and I was due January 1st. Well, on December 23rd she welcomed her sweet baby boy, Oliver Raye Hoinacki into the world! He is a doll! On December 29th she brought him into the studio for some photos since I was bored while still waiting for my own baby girl to arrive. After taking Oliver's photos, they left to go home around 5 pm! Lo and Behold.... contractions began for me at 5:30 bringing my baby girl into the world the next morning making our baby's only 7 days a part! Such a sweet, sweet memory! Welcome to the world Oliver Raye... you are going to do big things!
Every year around New Year's I have a time of reflection. I look at the last year (that literally seems to have FLOWN by) and examine all the big moments. I force myself to look the bad moments in the face and deal with them so that I can LET THEM GO. Then, I rejoice as I look at all the awesome moments. I do this because sometimes it's so easy to just go through the daily motions of life and not realize how far you've come as an individual, in your marriage, in your parenting, or in your career. It's so easy for us to go through life without ever realizing the significance of what you've done and accomplished. I hope this post encourages you to take as step by and examine your own life over this past year, take a deep breath, thank God, and give yourself some credit for your part in that, too!
So, without further ado here are some of my most memorable moments of 2017!
1.) The loss of another sweet child.
- Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of joyous anticipation but the sad truth is that not every positive pregnancy test ends with a baby. In fact, 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. In March, my husband and I lost another sweet baby to miscarriage. Though this was such a difficult time, photographing my clients and their beautiful babies was actually quite encouraging and every storm has a rainbow. See next memorable moment!
2.) Finding out we get to be parents AGAIN!
- In April we found out again! And in July we found out we were pregnant with Baby Girl #3!!!! Due January 1st!
3.) Going full-time in my business.
- Having just moved to a new town last year I was expecting it to take a while to build up my business but my goodness, the Lord has blessed me ten-fold. Moving to Lincoln was the best thing for my family and my business! Who knew that such much success could be found in a small town in Central Illlinois? Love, Love, Love these people!
4.) Photographing my first 4 weddings as the lead photographer.
- Nothing is more exciting than photographing a wedding. Not only is this a memorable experience for me but I get to witness one of the most memorable days in someone else's life and provide them with photographs to relive these moments. Weddings are an exciting mix of EVERY type of photography. You get family, kids, candids, posed, detail photography, product photography, etc. It truly is an art and honestly, SO MUCH FUN! Can't wait for my 2018 weddings!
5.) Completing photography courses from THE HARVARD.
- Albert Einstein once said, "Once you stop learning, you start dying." I believe this to be true for business as well. I am constantly attending seminars, webinars, and conferences to try and better myself and my business for my clients. This past February I had the opportunity to complete some photography courses at THE HARVARD. It was incredible. It was challenging. It was rewarding. Something I will always remember.
6.) Finding an amazing assistant, being pregnant together, and photographing her brand new baby boy, Oliver Raye.
- My assistant Nicole has been so much more than that, she is also one of my best friends. In April, she told me that she was pregnant and I found out I was pregnant the same day! She was due December 29th and I was due January 1st. But on December 23rd, her sweet baby boy, Oliver Raye, was born and I got to photograph him on December 29th (Which also put me into labor, but more on that later!)
7.) Morning Sickness!
- While this isn't a happy moment, it is definitely one of the most memorable! I was extremely sick with this baby! I was in the hospital nearly every 3 days getting fluids and nutrient bags because I couldn't keep anything down. Not even ice chips. But through this, my marriage was strengthened as well as community relationships. I had people bringing meals for my husband and kids, people offering to clean my house and watch my children, do my laundry, and everything else that mom's do. I was literally bed-ridden for a good 12 weeks and without my community and my wonderful, wonderful husband, I could NOT have done it.
8.) The Birth of my 3rd baby girl, Audrey Chase Dilworth!
- Just after shooting an impromptu newborn session for my BFF and assistant Nicole, I started having contractions 30 minutes later. Ha! The next day on December 30th at 9:12 a.m. my sweet Audrey Chase Dilworth was born! She is adorable and the perfect addition to our family!
Christmas Mini sessions were such a joy this year! I did indoor ones at my studio and outdoor ones at Cooper Tree Farm located in Lincoln, Illinois. It was so great to meet and photograph so many different families and add to their joy this Holiday Season by providing photos of the ones they love for them! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
From our very first meeting, I've been counting down the days to Adam and Amy's wedding! They are the sweetest couple who are so thoughtful and SO. MUCH. FUN. You can read more about their love story and how they met on this post ( We Met in Prison... ). Their wedding was absolutely perfect. Everywhere you turned there were details that were so personal to the couple. They got married at the magazine-worthy location, The Chateau in Bloomington, Illinois. The site was decorated with beautiful décor that the friends and the family of the Bride had clearly slaved over for weeks and their work definitely paid off. Walking in and seeing all these meaningful details, I just knew it was going to be an extra-special celebration of love.
Amy and Adam... what an honor it was for me to capture your wedding day! I can't wait to watch the rest of your story unfold. Here are just a few favorites from your beautiful day!
Brides & Bridesmaid Dresses: Candice's Bridal
Suits: Men's Warehouse
Cake: Specialty Cakes by Tammy
Location: The Chateau
This year brought a first for me. Photographing senior girls. Before this point I've only had senior boys and while they are fun in their own way... there is nothing like photographing a girl. As a mom of (soon to be 3!) girls... I look at these senior's in a special way. I see them and I see my future (x3!) I look in their eyes and I know their struggles. I've been there. I have felt what they felt. Transitioning from a carefree, innocent, and pure child full of vivacious happiness into someone who has new dimensions and complex emotions. When we walk down the makeup aisle, see magazine racks, learn about Hollywood and the fashion industry, we learn to hate our own appearance. We suddenly feel pressure to look, feel or be a certain way.
Nearly every woman I have ever photographed, not matter what age, starts the session by saying, "I'm not really sure what i'm doing, I don't know how to stand, or my personal LEAST favorite... 'I'm not photogenic...' ." News Flash: There are NO photogenic people. There are only confident people. And if you're not feel particularly confident... do not fret. That is my job. We live in a society that is determined to make you forget. To forget who you are. You are a beautiful work of art! You are unique. You are irreplaceable. You are important. You are someone worth celebrating. The forgetfulness begins as teenagers (if not even earlier) and continues to follow us through the rest of our lives. But I view it as not just my job but my incredible privilege to help you remember. To remind you that you are worthy! You are worthy to be photographed. I want my photographs to encourage you, bring you joy and fill you up! I long for my photographs to challenge the false beliefs you have about yourself and instead be the push that you need to see the beautiful work of art that you are. You are enough.