Hello there! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Monica, a destination wedding photographer from Ohio, celebrating adventurous couples passionate about marriage & legacy. I hope you can sit back, grab a cup of your favorite drink and enjoy browsing through our most recent work, resources for brides and photographers, and take a peek into our personal life! Be sure to check back soon, because we're always adding new content!
Up until recently, Mother’s Day used to be a really hard day for me. I lost my mama when I was 15- almost 8 years ago- so I always felt like it was just another day to mourn, another day to miss her, and another day to ask God WHY? But, over the years, I’ve been reminded time and time again that God used so many other mothers in my life to fill in the gaps where my mom no longer could. So today, on this Mother’s Day, I want to take the time to thank all the mothers who have helped raise me into the woman I am today.
In high school my aunts, grandmas, mentor, and my best friends’ moms were SO influential. They would drive me to and from school when I didn’t have my license yet, help me decide which dress to wear to homecoming, and feed me delicious home cooked meals. They’d take me to get manicures, helped me decide which college I should attend, and come to my sporting events. They encouraged me when I felt like I was constantly failing and encouraged me in my successes. They showed me what it looked like to have a relationship with God and how to serve others well.
In college and after I graduated, those same women AND new mentors, colleagues, and two new mothers took me under their wings. They helped me process when waves of mourning came. They welcomed me into their homes, fed me really well, and gave me big hugs. They helped me navigate dating and engagement. They helped me pick out my wedding gown. They let me cry on their shoulder when I so desperately wished my mom could meet Drew, be there to see me graduate college, and be there to help me plan for our marriage. They showed me how to do my taxes for the first time. They let me know that I wasn’t crazy and it was normal when Drew and I got in conflicts about the stupidest things. They’ve let me know what it’s like to be a mother and then the joy of being a grandmother (I’m pumped for both!!). Most importantly, they encouraged me in my personal relationship with God.
2016 was CRAZY for me because I not only graduated college and started working full time, but my dad and I got married 6 months apart. In January, my brothers and I joyfully welcomed a new mother to our family when my dad and Kathy got married. In June, I gained another mother, Diane, when Drew and I got married. I have never missed my mom more than when I was planning our wedding and during that time, God went above and beyond and provided TWO. That blows my mind.
So on this beautiful day, I want to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all of the sweet mamas out there, especially the ones in my life. I’ve listed a few below, but there are so many others who have touched my life. You are so loved, all you do is so appreciated, and I know my mom would be so thankful that you stepped in to help raise me.
All my love,
My beautiful mom Susan- this was the last picture we took together at my sophomore homecoming. Please notice our cat, Oreo, photo bombing in the background haha. My mom was one of the bravest women. You’ll get to know her more in a later blog post 🙂
My sweet mother-n-law, Diane (+ my sister-n-law Addie). I love Diane so much and feel so spoiled to have her as my mother-n-law! She has been such a support, encouragement, and role model since she came into my life two years ago. I also realized that I’ve been too excited to finally have a sister so it was hard to find a picture of just Di and I- need to change that soon!
My dad & Kathy got married 6 months before Drew and I did- wild! We love Kathy so much and are so glad they found each other after they both lost their spouses. Kathy is incredibly thoughtful, caring, and has brought a lot of joy to our family. I love sharing cooking tips, eating all her delicious food, and when we get to catch up on life. Looking forward to all the memories ahead with our merged family!
Grandma Katie (my dad’s mom)- what a LEGACY this woman has created! She has been one of my biggest role models throughout my life and I hope to leave a legacy like hers one day. She is so wise, caring, and the best of cooks. I love listening to her stories and being in her presence. She turns 90 this up coming December and I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate her!
Aunt Kristie (my mom’s sister)- this woman has one of the most joyful laughs (always reminds me of my mom’s!) and she is incredibly thoughtful, caring and supportive. When I was a senior in high school, she got to live with us for a little bit right after her back surgery and it was SO sweet to have her around during that time of transition. This is a picture of us at my senior homecoming.
Aunt Beth & Aunt Jane (my dad’s sisters) who both live in Florida, and both have made a huge impact on my life in different ways. As I entered college, Beth and I would call each other randomly and catch up (still do :)) and I admire how she pushed me in my faith and lovingly called me out on areas in my life where I needed to trust God more.
My dad told me I reminded me of Jane and I was always so flattered by that comment. When I was wedding dress shopping, Jane, Grandma Katie, and I went to look at a local bridal boutique just for kicks. I ended up buying the third one I tried on. It was so special and fun to have them there with me for that! I love how supportive and fun both my aunts are AND that they live in Florida because it gives us an excuse to visit there.
Allie has been one of my best friends for over 9 years now and her mom, Andrea, has had such an impact on my life! She has been one of the biggest examples of what it looks like to be a woman of God and how to encourage your kids in their faith. I love that when Allie, Natalie, and I get together, their house feels like a little slice of home.
“Mama Beneke” aka Shellie aka Shellie Bob 🙂 She’s felt like my second mom since 4th grade when her daughter Lexi (in the image below on the far left) and I became best friends. She has always been a huge support in my life. During my transition from high school to college, I remember she got me a “going to college” bag that was stocked with laundry detergent, lint roller, candy…you know…all the college essentials. She also provided huge containers of Animal Crackers (love those!) throughout my freshman year at Miami. That’s just one example where something small made me feel incredibly loved and cared for. She’s done that in SO many ways throughout the years!
We look like babies! The above image is during my senior year of high school with two of my best friends, Lexi and Jessica, and Jill. The image below is of Jill, her beautiful daughter Ali, and I at my wedding.
Jill Chabut. What a woman! She’s done a lot for me and my family. I’ve traveled on several trips with her, she threw me the sweetest bridal shower, and she’s edited several of my papers throughout high school and college. The Chabut family has been really good family friends since I was in elementary school and I’m so thankful for that!
Jenny B- my sweet high school mentor and friend. I love this woman and so thankful she’s been in my life for the past 9 years! Also, she’s one of the main reasons I ended up at Miami University which was by far one of the BEST choices I’ve ever made!
Grandma Pollock! This is Drew’s grandma (Diane’s mom) and she is the best. I’ve love spending time with her over the past 2 years and admire how well she loves and serves her family. She coaches me up on my push ups and has mad dance moves AND she makes the best carrot cake, beef & noodles, and homemade pizza #grandmagoals
Laura- She was one of my mentors throughout college and having her in my life has been such a privilege. The Lord really knew what He was doing when He brought her into my life at just the right time. She helped me navigate A LOT during engagement when I was having a really hard time with my mom not being around and adjusting to a new family dynamic. She is so much fun to be around and loves her three kiddos so well. They move to Tennessee soon and I’m excited to go visit 😉
Amy & Leigh- these two are a hoot. I LOVED getting to know them more & spend time with them during my first job out of college. I learned a lot from them. Like how to do my taxes, conflict in marriage, and what it’s like to raise kids and be a grandma.
Suzanne- one of my mom’s best friends 🙂 She is SO much fun and I loved when her, my mom & I would have weekly lunch dates at Panera. That’s a huge reason why Panera is one of my all time fav places to eat- so many good memories there!
Sweet Mary- I met her when we traveled to Guinea Africa on a mission trip together. I was the youngest and she was the oldest to attend the trip. We were also the only two from Ohio, which created an instant connection. After our trip in Africa, we traveled to Brussels, Belgium. It was a blast! A little bit before Drew and I got engaged she visited me at Miami to meet him. I love it when we get to catch up!