The Putnam Family//Geneseo Prarie Park//Quad Cities Family Photographer

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.” That saying fully explains how everyone should live their life. And now, it is our family motto. We take every day and make it the best it can be. I miss nothing."

-Melanie Putnam; her life, her family; their motto
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"As cliche as it may sound, Jay is truly the light of my life. My soulmate and my best friend. We met and started dating when I was 17, working at the same grocery store. He was 3 ½ years older and a college student. It was truly love at first sight. We were married young at 20 and 24 in 2003.

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We loved the idea of having a big family! We had Jayden right away in 2005 and he was the light of our life. Absolutely adorable and exactly what we had been asking God for. He looks so much like Jay with a tender and loving personality since Day 1.


In 2007, we became pregnant with our spunky little “shrimp”, Josiah. Halfway through my pregnancy, we found out that I had a fatal and rare lung disease that would not only take my life early, but would would mean no more children. Sadly, I am not sure which of those things made me sadder! I remember sitting in the hospital room getting the diagnosis thinking more of the fact that I could not have any more children. In May of 2008, Josiah was born at 28 weeks. He was just this miniature little human who was perfect and beautiful in every way. He lived in the hospital for the first 3 months due to his prematurity but has been healthy and thriving in every way since then!!


Jay was incredible. He supported me in every way. He made me still feel beautiful even though I had tubes in my nose 24-7 and couldn’t take the greatest care of myself. He did everything for me. His faithfulness and love for me never failed even once. He is truly what every husband should aspire to be. This time waiting for my lungs was terrifying. Every day seemed impossible. My kids were home staying with friends and family, and my committed hubby was on a cot in my hospital room with me taking care of me every single day. Finally, my gift of a second chance at this life came, and I have been running ever since.

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Jayden is now 12. He is generous and loving. He is very empathetic and sensitive to other people and their feelings, and I truly believe with my whole heart that his kindness comes from how much he cared for me and worried about me at such a young age. He is so well rounded. He is good at sports, especially his favorite sport which is baseball. He is very smart in school and has always impressed us with excellent grades. He loves church and loves volunteering there and teaching young kids about God. He is a great friend to everyone, and I love seeing how he treats everyone with respect and love. He still kisses me, even in front of his friends. He tells the worst jokes ever, and they are only funny because they don’t make any sense. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him! He is who he is, and he is everything we could ever have wanted him to be.

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Josiah is 9. He is a spunky little spitfire!! Always making up silly jokes and sayings. He makes up actions to every song, and he wants to be a rapper! He has several Christian rap artists who he listens to and idolizes, and he is great at rapping their music. My favorite part of Josiah is his dedication to things. He puts forth every ounce of effort in his body to sports. He wants to be a MLB player when he grows up. I love that he is generally the tiniest kid on every sports team, but he works to hard and puts so much effort into everything he does, and it shows!!! He knocks our socks off when he is playing baseball. Size truly doesn’t matter with him. I love watching his pitch and play in general. Josiah is very sensitive and a loving friend. He is the kind of kid that isn’t afraid to walk up to a person who doesn’t have a friend nearby and befriend them. He has a huge heart underneath his cool sports guy persona. Josiah is also very smart in school, and has been able to read chapter books since first grade. We love him and his funny ways so much! He was such a gift from God because he was our last chance to have a child!

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Sometimes I don’t know how it is possible that after being together for 17 years and married for 14, that Jay and I still love each other how we do. We never get tired of each other. We are never bored. We have so many dumb jokes we tell each other and we just get it. We are very attracted to each other still, even after how the years have added some extra weight to our bodies and wrinkles to our eyes.


Our favorite time of day is bedtime because we are huge cuddlers. We spend that cuddling time catching up on the day and laughing together. This time is priceless.

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My lungs have given me extra time to be with my amazing family. I am not sure how much longer I will have because life expectancy is short for people in my shoes. But I don’t let that dictate how I do things! I live everyday as if it is my last. I enjoy every breath and every kiss and hug that I get from these 3 people who are my everything. My favorite saying is, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.” That saying fully explains how everyone should live their life. And now, it is our family motto. We take every day and make it the best it can be. I miss nothing. We do so much together, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. We are so blessed for each other. Family truly is one of God’s greatest gifts." - The Putnam Family written by Melanie

As I read through this journal entry for my blog I found myself really choking back tears (not all of them were held back). I am challenged to not take every moment for granted, every hug, every cuddle, every kiss. What a powerful story of faith, overcoming, and love. I am blessed beyond measure to have the loved ones that I have, to know this incredible family. I am blown away with their story told in these photos....a photo says a thousand words, and yours truly tell the story of what family truly means. Thank you for allowing me to capture these precious memories. Many more to come.

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The Cleppe Family//Quad Cities Family Photographer

"Fortunate. Blessed. Happy. Overwhelmed with gratefulness. That's how I feel when I think of my family."

Angie Cleppe on family

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It was not an easy journey to get here. We struggled with infertility and are so lucky that we have our two babies. We are so lucky they are healthy. But again lucky doesn't really cover it.

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Cohen is the love of my life. I never knew how much I could love someone until he came along. I love watching him grow and listening to him talk and learn. He is smart and persistent and loves all things boys love-cars and sports the most. He has changed my life and me in so many ways and is the one who made me a momma.


Evie is my sunshine. My happy baby girl. When I see her face light up and blue eyes sparkle I just feel in my soul that she was meant to be mine. She brings so much joy to life. We didn't find out the gender when I was pregnant and were completely shocked she was a girl. I'm so glad she was. I can't wait to see little pig tails and hear her talk. She is going to talk so much! It's pretty much going to be the most adorable thing I've ever seen. She cracks me up already. She is so silly. I hope we are best friends.


Evie is really starting to be a little girl and growing out of the baby stage. Cohen has already said "Evie is my best friend". He loves giving her hugs and kisses and reading to her. She thinks he is so cool and loves playing cars with him. Now she makes car noises and pushes cars along with him. It's so cute!

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My husband is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If it weren't for him I wouldn't have the great life that I have. He takes care of our family. Because of him I get to stay at home with the kids which is a huge privilege. I never thought I would want to stay home with kids before I had them. But once Cohen was here I never wanted to leave him not even for a few hours!


When I think of my family I feel so lucky. But when I think of the word lucky I think of winning a scratch off ticket or something. Not winning at life or living the dream! Fortunate. Blessed. Happy. Overwhelmed with gratefulness. That's how I feel when I think of my family.
I wish I could freeze time to keep them little. I know this will be the best time of life watching these little humans grow. They are my favorite things in the whole world." - Angie Cleppe

The Cleppe family is near and dear to my heart, I've watched the struggle of infertility and when they finally had Cohen! I've prayed for them and continue to do so. It's a joy each and every time I get to see them. They're dedicated to each other and their kids with all they have. The moments captured are sure to be remembered. Thanks for letting me be a part in your story, so much more to come!

xoxo Trisha K.

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