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14 YEARS OF MARRIAGE SHARES THE DAY WITH A 3RD BIRTHDAY!

I recently shared the analogy of how I view my mind. A foggy car dashboard window that seemingly moments after I wipe a viewable path, it begins to cloud up again. I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember. But now with two kiddos, the lack of clarity has only increased; it makes it hard to navigate sometimes. I am so thankful however, that amidst and regardless of my at times misguided words and actions (Though, most of the time, I’m completely oblivious to it; which makes it all the more confusing!) somewhere (and someone) where I get clarity is with you!
You Ruggiero…You’re my reality check. You’re my open-minded, broad thinker. You’re my re-focuser. You’re my dream husband, and even dreamier dad to our kids. (Happy 3rd birthday today Ryan!) You’re my oil to making this machine of a house run. You’re the heart to making this our home. You’re my defogger. So thankful for you! Happy Anniversary! Love you!
Happy 3rd Birthday Ryan! You’re funny, smart, curious, freakishly strong, energetic, and will always be the one to have first made me a mom. Love you sweet boy!
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Chicago Wedding Photographer Melissa Marie Photography: Blumen Gardens & Harvest Bible Chapel Wedding: JOSH + JENNA

14 years ago (well, it’ll be 14 years in 5 more days) (: I made covenant vows at the alter with my husband. As we were dismissing our guests, my cousin hugged me with tears saying: “I want a wedding like this someday.” She wasn’t speaking of flowers, nor the many many candles (one of which almost lit my aisle runner on fire, (but that’s another story), she felt something in our ceremony. I hugged her back, now with tears streaming down my face, and I told her: “You can. Follow Jesus, and wait for a man who does the same.”

Jenna…You aren’t my cousin. But you are my sister-in-Christ. It is so completely evident that the foundation of your and Josh’s relationship (now, marriage!! Woot! Woot!) is Christ! From time to time at weddings I’ll tear up. Perhaps thinking of my own kids getting married someday. Perhaps knowing a bit of backstory from that family. But the presence of Jesus in your ceremony had tears rolling down my cheeks. One of my favorite things (I honestly can’t narrow it down, it was all so absolutely special) about your wedding, was seeing the youth that you guys have been pouring into. They witnessed what a vow saying, covenant making, Jesus focus wedding is. Coming from someone that has photographed hundreds and hundreds of weddings, I’ll tell ya, it’s a rare rare thing to see. To then see them worship within your ceremony and then to serve so selflessly at your reception was amazing. I just saw the countless investment you’ve both put into those kids just oozing out of their song and acts of service. It was amazing! Your relationship with those kids, no doubt will have a direct impact on their future spouse choices, future marriage decisions. The ripple effect and legacy of generations for the Kingdom.

I have no doubt, that whatever you guys decide to do that you’ll do it loving people, while loving each other, and loving Christ. So excited to see what’s in store for you guys!

RECEPTION: BLUMEN GARDENS: https://www.blumengardens.com/weddings

CEREMONY: HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL: https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/

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CHICAGO NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY: BABY HARRISON

Imagine you got to take Kate Spade’s or Tory Burch’s wedding or baby photos. Perhaps even better, you knew them when they were young, and got to see them grow into amazing woman, with empires of their own hard work. That’s me with Lindsay from Holly and Tanager. (Amazing bags made by and for woman; check em out!) I’ve known Lindsay since her middle school days. I took her prom photos, captured her wedding, and now images of her first-born. If you haven’t heard of her yet, no doubt you will. I’m honored to not only have heard of her, but the privilege of knowing her. So happy for you Linds! Congrats!!! And happy one month Mr. Harrison!

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VOLKENING HERITAGE FARM: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY: WILSON FAMILY

At night, one of my son’s favorite songs for us to sing before bed is: “This little light of mine….I’m gonna let it shine.” Kids have a way of letting their authentic selves shine! They haven’t allowed the world, outside influences, or often even parents yet dictate who they are to be. I love capturing the pure personality of each kid for who they are! Whether it be silly. Shy. Inquisitive. Sensitive. Bubbly. Energetic. The world is dark enough. Lets let our kids SHINE! Love that this family not only allows that, but encourages it! So neat to see these kiddos be growing into their true selves over the years. So much love for this little (or not so little) (: family!

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VOLKENING HERITAGE FARM: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY: BARIC FAMILY

People say when you have a kid you can’t remember what it was like before them. For me, not sure that’s fully true. (: At least I can’t say that to be true for me when I was anticipating my second kiddo. I remember vividly what it was like to be a family of three. I remember savoring and essentially sobbing as I’d rock my first-born to sleep thinking that was the last time I’d do it before I went into labor with my youngest. I wouldn’t trade those moments but I also wouldn’t give up the new blessing it is to a family of 4. My youngest in many ways is so different than my oldest. She’s brought a fresh new dynamic to our family. One that though I can vividly remember what it was like before her, I am so grateful for who she is and what she brings to our family. I’ve loved capturing so many family’s this fall. Several who are in that transition of a family of 3 to 4. Every family dynamic is different but one commonality is that kids as challenging, and in ways all-consuming as they are just absolutely precious!! Excited to see that transition for this family!

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