ben + stacie + jaden

Jonathan and I were driving across the state on a sunny Thursday afternoon, when I received this text from my friend, Stacie, “Hey… wondering how busy you are the next couple days? Any free time?” Now, this is a normal text to receive, especially when Stacie and I had been chatting about grabbing coffee to catch-up… But when she called me a few minutes later needing to talk about specific details, I was a little caught off guard, to say the least. Let me rewind a bit…

Stacie, is married to Ben. They’ve been married almost six years and in that time have traveled the world together, lived in a few places (near and far), studied for graduate degrees, and shared a passion for students – specifically college students. Currently, they find themselves working at a college ministry in Michigan where they spend all hours of the day hanging out with and mentoring students (these two are pretty rad!). Throughout their relationship, Ben + Stacie have accomplished many dreams together, but there has been one that has specifically been on their hearts and minds in the most recent years – they have dreamt of being parents and raising a family! After much prayer, consideration and anticipation, it became evident that they should begin the journey to adopt. So they started the process, filed paperwork and readied their hearts to become adoptive parents. On Monday, February 18th, when almost everything was complete, Ben + Stacie joyfully emailed their close friends and family to announce that they were officially pursuing adoption! At that point, all they had left to do was wait…… and that waiting could take anywhere from three months to three years. So they invited their close community to pray for them and join in the excitement of anticipating a little one with them.

The next day (about 12 hours after sending the email), Ben + Stacie got a phone call from their case worker that would change their lives. A baby boy had been born on Monday and needed a home! “Would you like to be considered by the birth mom to adopt this baby boy?” the case worker asked them. This shocked Ben + Stacie because they were told they would probably wait at least a few months to hear anything and they still had a few minor paperwork things on their end to wrap up. The case worker assured them they could be considered if they were willing, but they needed to respond ASAP. Within the hour, Ben + Stacie affirmed that they would like to be considered as parents and they spent the afternoon chatting about potential baby names, praying and waiting…

Wednesday morning, the case worked called once again and announced that Ben + Stacie had been chosen by the birth mom!! The wait was over – they were finally going to be parents! They immediately jumped in the car and headed to the hospital a few hours away. That afternoon, less than 48 hours after announcing their plans to adopt, Ben + Stacie were holding their SON. That little one was a miracle, a blessing and the sign of many promises fulfilled. They named him Jaden, which means, “God hears us.” God had heard Ben + Stacie’s desire to become parents and blessed them with a handsome and healthy little child. What a joy!

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When Stacie called me that Thursday afternoon and said, “Jenn, I’m looking at my husband right now as he holds our son” it came as quite a surprise, since three days earlier I had received that email from them!! We immediately scheduled a newborn session and I could hardly wait to meet the sweet babe! Jaden is already loved by many and it was such a joy to spend a few hours with the three of them celebrating his arrival. Without further adieu, here are a few images of Jaden on one of his first days home with his mom + dad!

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matthew + kristin – rochester, mi

she keeps it simple and I am thankful for her kind of lovin’… ’cause it’s simple / no longer do we wonder if we’re together, we’re way past that and I’ve already asked her / she’s talkin’ to me with her voice down so low I barely hear her, but I know what she’s sayin’ / I understand because my heart and hers are the same // true love is not the kind of thing you should turn down… don’t ever turn it down… And in January we’re gettin’ married
// lyrics from “January Wedding” by the Avett Brothers

Matt + Kristin love each other with a true love that is simple, but full. You can see the depth in the way he looks at her and the way she talks about him… their love is sweet, but fun. And on a wintery Saturday, Matt + Kristin had themselves a January wedding. They vowed forever, toasted with family and friends and celebrated into the snowy eve in Rochester. Personally, these two kicked off the 2013 wedding season for me and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the year. If this wedding was an indication of what 2013 is going to hold, I’m totally on board :) Matt + Kristin, thanks for sharing your love… enjoy the preview of your amazing day!
Matt + Kristin had their ceremony in chapel of Faith Lutheran Church in Troy, MI:How do you keep bridesmaids warm during outdoor portraits in the snow? Just like this… :)Their reception was held at the Rochester Community HouseOne of my favorite parts of the day… their first dance. “January Wedding” by the Avett Brothers was just absolutely perfect for this moment.

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mike + janelle + baby

‘Tis the season for babies around here! (No, not for me… for my clients ;)) The past few winters it seems like my winter months have been filled with maternity and newborn sessions. It’s a welcome change of pace from the busy wedding season… plus, who doesn’t like to celebrate babies?? Today, I want to share with you some images of first-time parents and friends, Mike + Janelle!

Mike + Janelle briefly appeared on the blog last summer for their anniversary. We had a session celebrating their 2-year wedding anniversary… and, a baby announcement! In case you missed it, here’s a little peak…

Well, fast-forward about six-months and it was time for a maternity session! Mike + Janelle braved the wintery elements and headed to downtown Grand Rapids for their photos. We had blue skies and sunshine for just a couple hours that afternoon and it was perfect! Their little one is due next month and I can hardly wait to see these two be parents! If you ask me, I think they are going to be pretty great at it. I’ve watched them be an awesome aunt + uncle and now it’s their turn to be mommy + daddy! Yay! :)

Mike + Janelle, we are so excited for you and are honored to be a part of this amazing time in your lives. Can’t wait to meet your sweet babe SO soon!I’d dare say that Janelle is a glowing momma-to-be. You’re beautiful, Janelle!Oh, Mike. What a funny guy… ;)

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What better way to watch the snow fall then to post some images from one of the hottest days in the July? Just looking at the sunlight in these pictures brought me warmth!

Blog, I’d like you to meet Tina. Tina is an artist, a musician and has mad style. This woman is a strong individual – full of life, depth and grace. Tina has walked through some tough battles, but she is a fighter, with an amazing soul. She is spunky, knows how to make you laugh and always has a fun time. And, she also happens to be a rad photographer, too!

This summer, we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together – working, dreaming, and taking lots of photos. She might tell you she was trying to learn from me, but really, I found myself learning from her. Tina motivated me, encouraged me and taught me to see beauty and life in new ways. I’m forever grateful for her role in my life as a fellow photographer and friend. I’m excited to see where her journey takes her in the coming years!

Tina, my friend, you are a blessing to me!
jenn anibal // lifestyle photographertina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibal

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russ + courtney + baby

As a storyteller, I’ve come to understand that one of the best things you can do is celebrate the “ups” in life – truth and love, the good times and the hopeful moments. Cherishing happiness + joy makes it easier to process the bad… and we all know that life has it’s difficult times. I’m grateful that photography allows me to be able to be a part of so many amazing stories, because of the constant reminders to me that life is beautiful. And today, I have some more good to share with you. :)

I recently spent some time with Russ + Courtney in downtown Grand Rapids for a maternity session. Maternity sessions are not my most popular type of shoot, but I always love being able to hang out with soon-to-be parents! I’m honored that these two would allow me to commemorate this beautiful time as a family. Russ + Courtney’s personal journey to parenthood has not been easy – it’s been a path marked with difficulty and grief. But in just a couple weeks, they are anticipating the arrival of their son… and that is a wonderfully awesome, good thing to celebrate. Russ + Courtney, THANK-YOU for sharing your story with me and allowing me to capture this exciting time in your lives. Can’t wait to meet the little guy!!

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