Monthly Archives: May 2013

Branch + Barry = Family

Heather and I have been friends since we were both in diapers.  She’s one of those friends that even though you may only see each other a couple times a year, it doesn’t matter.  We always pick right back up, and thanks to Facebook, we are able to stay involved in each others everyday lives.

Hubby and I photographed Heather’s wedding a couple years ago.  Now they are celebrating another great event.  Heather’s hubby, Andrew just graduated from OSU with his Masters degree.  Yay Andrew!!  She contacted me for this photo session, because both of their families were coming into Columbus to celebrate Andrew’s big accomplishment.  This was the largest group of people I’ve ever photographed!  I was so worried the weather wouldn’t cooperate, because I had no idea where to take 18 people for an indoor session.  Thankfully, aside from it being windy, the weather was perfect!

After completing the session, Heather dropped the news on me that her and Andrew were moving to the Cleveland area 🙁  I am very excited for them to begin this new journey in their lives, but very sad that she’s so far away from me now.  Those couple visits a year with her will now be significantly decreased.  Needless to say, I’m so happy we were able to spend as much time as we did for this photo session.  Andrew and Heather made the big move last week.  I wish you guys nothing but the best!  Miss you already xoxo!

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Jaxson {18 months}

This is the third time I’ve photographed Jaxson.  His mom always says Jaxson and I make a great team and I think she’s right on!  His photos always come out so great.  I mean, it doesn’t hurt that he has blue eyes that will melt your heart either!

We had originally planned to meet outdoors at a park, but it was cold and rainy that day, so we ended up at the Franklin Park Conservatory.  The butterfly exhibit is back, so while it was almost impossible to photograph in that particular room, I did get some great butterfly shots.

Jaxson’s mom brought so many cute props to use including a hat, and my favorite, a superhero shirt and mask.  He wasn’t really into wearing any of it, but with the help of mom singing and showing Jaxson just how cool wearing the mask was, we got some great shots!

We’ve already got our next session scheduled together in October.  I can’t wait!

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Throwback Thursday {Tess Jordan}

Last October we spent a weekend in Kentucky with my aunt and cousin, Trina and Tess.  If you have just stumbled upon my blog for the first time, they are the wife and daughter of my uncle Brian.  You can read about him in my last blog post.  For the first 25 years of my life, spending weekends with family was part of my everyday life.  Unfortunately, within the past five years it’s a rare occurrence.  Needless to say, we were all excited to have this weekend together!

Tess took us on our first Gator ride in the woods.  Being the city girl that I am, when she said “ride the gator” I was freaked out!  I had never heard of or seen a gator in my life other than an alligator lol!  It was so fun though, and she of course was a great driver!  We watched movies, rode horses, played volleyball, had family dinners, and most importantly spent time together.  Other than riding the horses, my favorite part of the trip was photographing Tess.

For a while, I had been telling her that I wanted a photo of her in her dad’s police hat.  So, I finally got it!  She wore his police hat, jacket, and one of the t-shirts we had made with Brian’s face on the front.  The photos came out more amazing than I ever dreamed!

Saturday May 18 is the last day of National Police Week.  More importantly, it’s Tess’s 16th birthday.  Ironic that her birthday always falls during the same week her daddy is honored isn’t it?  Everyone agrees her birthday is hard every year, but the big sweet 16 may prove to be the hardest yet.

For me, I’m feeling guilty as this special day approaches.  Guilty that Brian taught me to drive, not her.  Guilty that Brian took me to my driver’s license test and cheered me on through the window, not her.  Guilty that Brian watched me walk down the aisle on my wedding day, and will never watch Tess.  Why was I blessed with 25 years with him and Tess only 10?  While I try to see the silver lining that at least Brian had the opportunity to share those experiences with someone he loved and looked after, it just isn’t fair.  I know Brian and Tess had so many awesome memories during their 10 years together.  From Caribbean cruises to Friday night football games they were inseparable.  He taught his “baby girl” or “biggie smalls” to be strong minded and self confident.  She is so much like him, it’s a little scary!

Throughout the past five years, Tess has been the strongest of the whole family.  She made posters to display at the funeral and handed out suckers (one of her dad’s favorite candies) at his memorial ceremony.  It was her little 10-year-old hand on my shoulder soothing me through my tears.  When I asked her how she could be so strong I believe she said something to the effect of, my dad would want me to be.  Maybe those burdens I stated above have never entered her mind.  If they have, I want nothing more than for her to know that while I treasure all of my memories with Brian, I wish it could have been her.

If you read this Tess, I don’t know why life is so unfair.  What I do know is that you are amazing.  Since we can’t change what has happened we just have to make the best of it, and you have proven to be a survivor and not a victim.  Though he won’t physically be present for all of your adventures in life, he will most definitely be with you in spirit.  I hope that you will look to me as not only family, but a friend, as I did your dad.  Know that until I die, it will be my mission that no one ever forgets your dad.  What a blessing it is for both of us to have loved and been loved by him.

I want to end this post by saying you had to face a terrible reality and grow up too fast too soon, but take this away from it… your dad did more in 37 years than some people ever do.  He loved life and he loved you more than life.  So, live yours to the fullest!  Happy almost sweet 16!  I love you more than you know!

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Heroes Live Forever

This is National Police Week.  Every year in Washington D.C. this week is dedicated to honoring and remembering fallen officers.  I had never heard of this until we lost my Uncle Brian on December 26, 2007.

Aside from actually hearing that Brian had been killed and then burying him, Police week has been the saddest, most emotional experience of my life.  Everywhere you look there is someone in a uniform, which is a reminder that you will never see your loved one in their uniform ever again.  Once you hear bagpipes at a funeral, you never want to hear them again, but they play them at every ceremony.  Having said that, the ceremonies are absolutely beautiful.  Not only is your lost loved one honored, but the families are as well.  As soon as you step off of the plane, there are officers lined up waiting and saluting you.  They personally escort every family from the airport to the hotel.  Whenever you leave the hotel to attend the ceremonies you go by charter bus.  The roads are completely shut down and the most amazing motor brigade escorts you to the site of the ceremony.

The first ceremony of the week is the candlelight vigil.  I’m pretty sure tears flowed the entire time.  We made sure to arrive really early so we could have the front row of chairs.  The ceremony is very long with lots of speakers.  What takes the longest is Roll Call.  Every year they read off every single name of each fallen officer.  These are the names that you see inscribed on the walls surrounding you at this ceremony.  It’s called the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.  Nothing can prepare you for how painful it is to just hear a loved ones name read aloud.  Once the candle lighting starts, it’s amazing how fast it all happens and how the night is lit with thousands of little flames all representing the same thing.

There are several events and conferences for the spouses and children of the fallen officers during Police Week.  The last ceremony we attended was the National Peace Officers Memorial.  This ceremony is about 2 hours long and is outdoors at the White House.  What I remember most about this ceremony was the placing of flowers onto a large wreath representing each fallen officer from 2007.  Trina, Tess, and my grandpa each placed a flower onto the wreath when Brian’s name was called.  After the ceremony, we all returned to the memorial wall where Brian’s name is inscribed.  We spent a lot of time there doing rubbings of his name onto special pieces of paper and taking many photos with friends and family.

I hope to return one day to Police Week.  There is a museum opening that will house memorabilia from many of the items that have been placed on the memorial wall.  Brian was a member of the SWAT team, so they brought a helmet and shield that had been signed by the department and left it at the wall by his name.  Trina had a custom tire wheel cover made with a replica of Brian’s badge. Tess and I decoupaged it with family pictures and left it at the wall.  We were so lucky to have it chosen to be a part of the museum!  I can’t wait to see how they display it!

If you aren’t familiar with that tragic night, you can visit www.odmp.org/officer/19134-police-officer-brian-evans for a brief description.  Those of you that are familiar, know that the physical and mental pain runs much deeper than just loosing Brian.  Trina and my mom will carry those physical scars for the rest of their lives as a reminder of that tragic night.  Please feel free to leave a reflection on that page.  I know we all love to read the stories written on there, but most importantly just to know that Brian’s memory and spirit will live on forever.  RIP Brian #182 “Baby Boy” “BIC”  “The Man” Gone but NEVER forgotten

I also want everyone to not forget that another hero was lost that tragic night.  Bobby Houseman was also killed leaving behind three daughters.  His oldest daughter was pregnant at the time.  Never had it crossed her mind that her unborn child would never meet her grandpa.  I didn’t personally know Bobby, but I have since gotten to know his daughters and multiple other friends and family members.  Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as well.  RIP Bobby you also are gone but NEVER forgotten.

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Urban Session with Mr. Madden {2}

I was so looking forward to this session!  I’ve only worked with Madden once, but he was such a cutie and the camera loved him!  I also really love the location we chose, North Bank Park.  It’s one of the best places to capture the city skyline.  We were so lucky that the weather was beautiful the day we met.

Once again, Madden was so easy and fun to work with!  He pretty much posed himself the entire session!  He was in denial about this being his two year session though!  You’ll see in the photos he’s pretty sure he’s actually four or five years old!  I was in love with those stylish green pants mom chose for him to wear.  Neither dad nor Madden were thrilled about them though!  Apparently, when mom was dressing Madden he made it very clear those were not his pants lol!  He was a trooper though and wore them like a stud in all of the photos!

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Tutu cute

You should recognize the youngest cutie in this post as Miss Maddie.  I recently shared her session with her little brother.  She was the charismatic little girl in the fabulous yellow and gray dress with matching purse!  The other cutie is Miss Audrey.  I hadn’t worked with her in a while, so was looking forward to seeing how much she had grown up!  Audrey and Maddie’s mamas work together and have the girls enrolled in the same dance academy.  They had just gotten their newest costumes, which prompted this photo session.  The girls each have a different candy themed costume.  I mean, photographing little girls, tutus, and candy is pretty much my dream!

Thankfully, the dance academy allowed us to take the photos inside their studio, because it rained the entire day of our session.  The girls looked so adorable in their costumes, and had a fun time showing me some of their favorite dance moves and making funny faces in the mirrors!

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Gaige {2}

I’ve been photographing this cutie since he was a newbie!  It’s always amazing to watch kiddos grow up in front of the camera.  Mom and I had decided to try and capture some fun superhero photos of Gaige in a cape and underwear.  Gaige was really comfy in only his undies lol, but he hated the cape!  Thankfully dad was there to airplane him high in the sky for the true flying effect, and also got him to smile 🙂  I just love that butt shot!  I told Mom to keep it for when he starts dating lol!

That really cute Superman banner was made by my mom-in-law.  Typically, banners are hard to use outside, because of the wind.  I got smart this time though, and taped it down to the barn.  Problem solved!

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