central illinois maternity photographer

Uptown Maternity Photo Session in Normal, Illinois

I was ecstatic when I got a phone call from mom-to-be, Brea Wimbley, to see if I could photograph her and her husband, Keenan Wimbley, as they transition from a family of 2 to 3! Of course I said yes because is there anything more beautiful than an expecting mama?

Our session was in Uptown Circle in Normal, Illinois about an hour before sunset and it was absolutely perfect! Brea and Keenan were former Illinois State University athletes so it is only fitting that they are still a part of the Redbird Family. Brea is a professor in the Psychology department at ISU and Keenan is the Senior Academic Coordinator and works directly with Illinois State’s football and gymnastics teams. Brea and Keenan have two of the kindest hearts! We had SO MUCH FUN during out session and I cannot wait to meet their little one whenever he/she arrives. They both gave me the great compliment a photographer could ever imagine, “I wish we would’ve used you for our wedding. You are so friendly and personable and made us feel so comfortable. This session wasn’t at all like pulling teeth…. It was FUN!” You guys…. a MAN actually thought this session was fun! Quick, Painless, and Fun is my motto for EVERYONE involved in the session!

Brea and Keenan… may every child on the planet know the kind of love you’ve already shown your little one. And I hope that these images will serve as a constant and consistent reminder of how much you love him/her and each other.

Enjoy your sneak peeks from our time together!

My 9 favorite pregnancy products...

My pregnancies were HARD. I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) which led to weight loss, many hospitalizations, IV's, and nutrition bags. Then I had typical pregnancy problems of extreme exhaustion, fainting, bloating, swelling, insomnia, sciatica, back pain, and all the other wonderful things that happen when we were pregnant. Don't get me wrong... having had two miscarriages I was extremely grateful for the sweet lil' babe in my belly but my goodness it was definitely not an easy time. So, I decided to share some of my favorite pregnancy products that got me through with all of you pregnant momma's out there..... 

1.) Sensodyne Toothepaste. Ha! Bet you didn't think this would be on here, huh? Well, turns out when you vomit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 10 months it RUINS the enamel on your teeth. Take it from me, if you have vomiting, use this enamel protecting toothpaste. 

2. Belly Bands. These wonderful things can be found here. During the first 20 weeks or so of pregnancy it's a great way to still wear your normal pants and you can wear them unbuttoned with these things. Great transition piece from regular clothes to maternity clothes. 

3.) Stretch Mark Cream. I used Palmer's Cocoa Butter in all 3 of my pregnancies and managed to make it through without 1 stretch mark! Not making any promises, but this stuff worked for me! It can be found here or at any major drug store. 

4.) Pregnancy Pillow. Sleep gets super hard towards the end of pregnancy. With the constant peeing and the not being able to get comfortable, its just tough to wake up and feel rested. A pregnancy pillow similar to this one helped me tremendously. Yes it's big and obnoxious but who cares if it means you get good sleep! Especially when this is baby #3 and you have to wake up bright and early to take care of two other littles. 

5.) Heartburn Medicine. Pretty self-explanatory but I CANNOT stand tums. Heck, I couldn't even keep ice down, much less those nasty, chalky tums. But these were amazing. They taste like starburst! Yes please! You can also by them at CVS, Walgreens or any other drug store. 

6.) Maternity Leggings. Leggings are comfortable all the time but in pregnancy they are a MUST (plus they are great for postpartum too)! When that awkward "things fit, but not really" stage comes along, it happens fast and you'll want to wear something that feels like nothing. :) Cute and Comfy clothes are non-negotiable in pregnancy. Just do it. 

7.) An awesome water bottle. I use this one but it really doesn't matter what one you use as long as you like it. I tend to drink more water if I use a water bottle with a straw. Not only is this a wonderful pregnancy product but also an amazing postpartum product, especially if you are nursing! 

8.) Chiropractic Care. With all the terrible pains I struggled with during pregnancy, I decided to try chiropractic care and it worked wonders with my sciatic pain and migraines and overall energy level. Some women say it even helps their morning sickness (didn't really help mine). Still recommend it. Made my pregnancies tolerable. :) 

9.) Photographer. Get an amazing maternity photographer. Not just one who "does" maternity photos but one who truly specializes in maternity and babies. Pregnancy sure does a number on women. In addition to some of the not-so-glamourous symptoms, we have to watch our bodies transform into something we aren't used to seeing everyday. And even though we know in our minds why it is happening and how we are growing a human, it still does a number on our self-esteem. Hiring an awesome photographer who knows how to pose different body types, which angles to shoot from, etc. will only help you see the beauty that every one else sees when they look at you during this season of your life. Treat yourself to a maternity session! You deserve to feel as beautiful as you are! Click here for packages and pricing. 

Well, those were my MUST-HAVES for pregnancy. What are some things on your must-have pregnancy lists? Also, enjoy these maternity photos of this beautiful first-time mama! The location of Washington Park in Springfield, Illinois was the perfect setting to reflect what this beautiful couple feels at this amazing season in their life. Can't wait to meet their sweet baby boy! 

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10 things I wish I had done BEFORE baby arrived...

There is a meme that goes around that says "Every month of pregnancy has 30-31 days except for the last month, which has 10,348 days." I am here to say there is no truer meme. Ha! So while you are waiting to meet your precious newborn, read over these 10 things I wish I would've done before baby arrived. 

1.) Talk about a birth plan. Obviously births can be full of surprises as well. But educating yourself on options during birth is super helpful when they ask you what you want while you are feeling the worst pain of your life. Need some help with birth coaching or education? Consider hiring a doula. Click here for more information. 

2.) Freezer meals. No one has time for home-cooked meals post-baby, so do as much as you can before. In addition to this, I would make a meal plan of very simple meals you can make and have on hand. 

3.) Pamper yourself. Get your nails done, hair done, a massage, or whatever it is that helps you to relax. You deserve it! 

4.) Pick a pediatrician. Make sure you have your pediatrician all lined up and ready to go. 

5.) Childcare. If you work, make sure you figure out your childcare options when your maternity leave is up. 

6.) Date night! Revel in this baby-free time while you have it. Life after baby isn't easy on a relationship. Sleep-deprivation, being overwhelmed, and being in post-baby pain can sometimes cause us to squabble with our partners simply because we are tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated. It really helps to do some pre-baby bonding to strengthen your relationship. Make sure you talk about expectations for after baby arrives as well. 

7.) Postpartum wardrobe. If you plan on nursing, make sure you invest in an awesome nursing bra or two. But even if you don't plan on nursing, there is a weird time post-pregnancy where you're maternity clothes look weird and your regular clothes don't quite fit yet. Get your postpartum wardrobe with the following items: Bras and Tanks (nursing ones, if you are nursing), Underwear (get some that you don't really care about that you can throw away once the bleeding stops), Jeans that are a couple sizes bigger, yoga pants (you will live in this!), Flowy tops (tight tops tend to make us still look 5 months pregnant), a beautiful maxi dress for those gorgeous newborn photos you will be wanting. 

8.) Deep clean. Looking back, I wish I had hired someone to do this, just this once. Who feels like mopping floors when they are 9 months pregnant? Plus, you certainly wont be getting that done once baby arrives. Can't afford to hire someone? Look on the bright side, maybe all that mopping and sweeping will make you go into labor! :) And while your at it, get rid of all the junk. Clutter can get out of control fast. Go through your house and donate, trash, recycle, or box up as much as stuff as possible. 

9.) Organize Everything. Wash, separate, organize all the baby things before baby arrives. Don't forget to give your partner a tour of where everything is at. It never failed that every time I asked my husband to fetch me a burp cloth, pacifier, diaper, wipe, bottle, or whatever he would give me this blank stare. Ha! So make sure you give your husband (and any older children) an orientation on the location of all the important things. :) 

10.) Maternity Pictures. Each pregnancy/birth is a once-in-a-lifetime event that you cannot recreate. Women often don't want pictures during this time because they feel they do not look their best. In short, we feel like giant whales. But I have been trained extensively in posing and photographing expecting women in a way that makes them feel beautiful. Trust me. Not only will you enjoy looking back on these later in life but so will your child. 

Enjoy these sneak peeks from one of my most recent maternity sessions with Heidi Fombelle located at Kickapoo Creek Park in Lincoln, Illinois. Interested in having me capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, click here. 

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"Miss Jen's" Maternity Session

"Miss Jen" as my two year old daughter, Annistyn, would say is someone super special. When my daughter turned two she qualified for speech therapy. It wasn't that we couldn't understand her... She simply wasn't interested in talking. Of course, as a mom you wonder where you went wrong. What could I have done differently to prevent this? We read books to her all day every day, frequent visitors of local libraries, spent lots of time playing with her, etc. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect when we had our first appointment with a speech therapist. I just knew I wanted to understand my child. She was so smart, her comprehension was off the charts, but she just refused to talk. But after meeting Miss Jen and working with her for 6 months... my child is now speaking just as well as anyone else her age. She actually "graduated" from the program and is no longer in speech! I can't believe it and I'm so very thankful! 

So when Miss Jen approached me about taking some maternity and newborn photos for her growing family I was so excited to do so! Enjoy the sneak peeks from the session. But first, enjoy this little letter just for you Miss Jen! 

 

Miss Jen, you cared for my child in a way I will always remember. The first time she told us a story, the BIGGEST smile came to my face. You did it! You listened when I had doubts, and gave me great advice. Never once did you judge me or make it seem like I was doing this whole parenting thing wrong. And I sure had my days of doubt. You became more than my child's speech therapist, you became someone I truly admire. Thank you for caring, and thank you for coming into our lives when we needed it the most! 

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