June 28, 2013

{Homecoming} Brittney & Brian

Kristine Elizabeth Photography a San Fransisco, California area portrait photographer describes her personal style of photography as a "mix of candid and traditional portraiture with a little twist." Her favorite part of being a photographer is "seeing a client’s face light up with excitement when viewing their images for the first time."

Lots and lots of smiles and kisses for this Air Force R&R Homecoming at the San Francisco Airport! Brittney and Brian have been dating for a little over a year and a half. They have known each other since high school but were only friends until before Brian left for Air Force basic training he asked if she would be his girlfriend. And after sending him daily letters during basic training, he proposed at his actual graduation in front of a huge crowd of family and graduates. They are getting married in March. Talk about a whirlwind romance!

Remember that post I just did recently about the wonderful organization Welcome Them Home? Well that is how Brittney found Kristine! Kristine has been dying to shoot a military homecoming and was so thrilled to be available for Brittney. They met at SFO and took some detail shots while Brittney anxiously awaiting her man to return, checking her phone every 5 seconds to see if his plane had arrived. Brian had no idea a photographer was going to be there so Kristine set Brittney up in a nice spot and Kristine hid behind a sign far away from her. Kristine describes, "I could feel her second hand anxiety from across the room! After shooing bystanders out of my way for a few minutes I saw Brittney send me the secret sign that he was walking towards her. And he was carrying a pink rose for her. Tear! I did my creepy introduction and they kindly let me stalk them all the way through baggage claim and the AirTrain ride back to the parking garage. They're such a sweet couple". 

**** Brittney has also entered one of Kristine's images in a Facebook contest! Just “Like” Hurry Up And Wait link here and click “Like” on the picture of Brian & Brittney here. **** Thank you Kristine for sharing this surprise homecoming photo session!

June 26, 2013

A Pink DIY Burlap and Lace Military Wedding

One of my favorite wedding blogs, Glamour and Grace, had a gorgeous military wedding filled with pink diy burlap and lace. You must go see all the photos here.
Photo by Danielle Capito

June 24, 2013

Sesame Street Deployment DVD

I recently heard about this amazing DVD series for military families and had to share it with my readers. You may have already heard about this but if not you'll love this if you have children! It's so hard to explain to children why daddy or mommy have to be gone for so long and I really hope these videos can help your family thru your difficult time.

You can see this information here on the USO http://www.uso.org/sesamestreet.aspx
"The Talk, Listen, Connect (TLC) DVD series uses the beloved Sesame Street Muppets to provide support and valuable resources for our troops with children, between the ages of two and five, who are experiencing the affects of deployment, multiple deployments, combat-related injuries and, unfortunately, the loss of a loved one.
The USO is dedicated to helping families cope with change and supports Sesame Street’s efforts by offering these DVDs to the troops and their families at many stateside centers. To date, the USO has distributed 45,000 copies of the TLC kits. For more information on the TLC series, please visit http://www.sesamestreet.org/tlc and watch a special message from First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.
Also, check out the new video "What We Are," starring the Sesame Street gang, which is part of the new "Little Children, Big Challenges" resiliency initiative."
DVDs are available through Military OneSource.

June 21, 2013

SSgt Colon-Soto Drill Instructor Ceremony

Amanda Nicole Miller of Fierce Photography has another special event ceremony to share. If you missed the promotion of Lieutenant Colonel Roberts click hereThe Colón family have officially been on the Drill Field for four years now while SSgt Colon-Soto has been in training for Drill Instructor, which prepare the Marines to take on the responsibility of training the Corps' future!! The three-year tour itself can be difficult enough on a family, a marriage, and of course the Drill Instructor. Yet, the Colóns did it for four years: all while having a number of different obstacles thrown their way. However, it is also a huge accomplishment when it comes time to successfully move forward with your family’s Marine Corps experience and career. To see more from this event click here to see the post Amanda did on her blog. Congrats to SSgt Colon-Soto for this great honor!

June 19, 2013

{Love Session} Brittney & Jack

Suzanne Kroner Photography is located in the Colorado Springs, CO area. She is married to a committed military man and together, they live the military life and have two beautiful children, three fur babies: a Great Dane, a lab and a kitten. Suzanne was contacted by Brittney because of a gift certificate that had been bought for her by a friend months ago but it was lost in a fire where they lost everything - including all their photos!!

Brittney had this idea in mind for a simple - stylized bridal shoot in a field. So Suzanne figured the perfect spot would be at Fox Run Park in Colorado Springs, CO. The wide open spaces along with closed, cramped wooding made for the perfect back drop for a beautiful couple. Here is their fairy tale story:

Jack and Brittney met in 2011. Timing was not right as Brittney was coming out of a bitter divorce with her young daughter Lillian and was not interested in getting into any relationships. However, Jack was persistent and knew what he wanted and so he pursued Brittney. They started spending more and more time together, eventually falling in love. Jack was everything Brittney had ever wanted in a man - a good father figure, compassionate, caring and most importantly he made her feel safe. 

Thanksgiving 2011 Jack was sent on a training assignment leaving Lillian and Brittney behind. Soon after Jack left, life would slowly change for them. Accidentally, Lillian had pulled the TV down on top of her. 911 was called and Lillian jumped up, acting as if nothing was wrong but when Brittney was asked by the EMT if she wanted to take her in just in case, something told her to do it. They sat at the hospital awaiting the CT scans. . . The doctor came in with news that would break any normal person down. "Your daughter is fine from the fall but we found a tumor on her brain." At 2 years old little innocent Lillian was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma stage IV cancer. She underwent surgery almost immediately. Jack, tried to get home but his chain of command wouldn't allow him too because "It wasn't his daughter and they weren't married."

The moment Jack got home, he proposed to Brittney, of course her saying yes however, they put their wedding on hold because Lillian was going to be going through chemo therapy and their attention needed to be on her. Brittney, Jack and Lillian were being transported to Atlanta, GA where they were going to be receiving more cancer treatments but the night before they were to pack and load their moving truck, their entire apartment building went up in flames. They lost everything!! They moved with nothing more then the clothes on their back to GA so that their daughter could receive the best care possible. Eventually the Army brought them to Fort Carson, Colorado where they welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world and have since found out that their little girl is now cancer free. Through all their struggles and triumphs, they made it - never knowing the outcome, but knowing they had each other  These photos represent the love that they have - a fairy tale. They never lost hope - they never let life beat them down and they came out on top! WOW!!! Thank you Suzanne for sharing this amazing story! Brittney & Jack you are the epitome of strength!

June 17, 2013

Welcome Them Home

Today's post is going to be a super duper long one since I have a wonderful organization to share, plus tell you about the person(s) behind it AND share a homecoming! Welcome Them Home is a network of photographers who donate their time and skills to soldiers and their families as a thank you for the sacrifices that are being made for our country. Each photographer in the network has agreed to photograph your soldiers homecoming, free of charge. Every photographer is different and what they offer you may vary from photographer to photographer. At a minimum, you will receive at least 30 minutes of photography for the moment of homecoming and one 8x10 print. Contact your specific photographer about more details since they will all be a little different. To read about about this organization click here http://www.welcomethemhome.org/ or email info@welcomethemhome.org or like them on facebook here

Bethany Cox, of Bethany Dan photography, started Welcome them Home. She explains, "it is a really special thing that has taken on a life of its own, which I adore. All I did was put a few things together and then the photography community embraced the opportunity." Well I had to know more about this great community of photographers and more about Bethany so I did a little Q & A with her. Make sure you go all the way to the end to see Bethany's Homecoming photos too!

What inspired you to create this organization?
"It's funny how simple it is. I was talking with my brother in law about doing more with each of our lives and how can we do for others, while using our gifts. I mentioned that military homecomings have always been a soft spot for me, even though I had never witnessed one in person. The intensity of the emotions spoke to me even it was just watching strangers on TV. My brother in law encouraged me to try to photograph them somehow. The rest is God stepping in and giving me the tools and the personality to execute the goal. Now, I have Welcome Them Home up and running. Oddly enough, I have no real military connection other than stories told by my grandfathers and my husbands best friend being in the Army. That is the extent of my personal connection to the military."

What part do you play in running it now?
"As of right now, I am the only person behind the running of Welcome Them Home. My role essentially is to add photographers to the database/website, update the facebook page with photos as they come in, and answer questions that arise for both the families and the photographers. In the future I hope to have a more automated system for adding the photographers so that I can focus more on growing the organization, rather than just maintaining it. In my imagination, Welcome Them Home becomes a recognized organization by the Military and rather than just organic marketing, it is an integral part of the information handed to military families when they prepare for their soldiers homecoming." 

How did you get started in photography?
"Four months after we were married, we left Lubec, Maine on a 15 month journey, kayaking all the way to Key West, Florida along the Atlantic Coast. On our incredible trip, we realized that we wanted to be together all the time, not trading our numbered days for a number on a paycheck. We wanted to spend our days together. Our mutual love for art and for love itself lead us right here, to the medium of photography. As photographers and business owners, we knew we could spend our time together, make a difference in peoples lives, create art, and be in charge of our time." 

When you’re not working, what do you do with your time?
"I am a confessed workaholic, but when I am overcoming that I like to go one long drives, listen to music loudly, and reorganize my house."

Something my readers would be surprised to know about you?
"I have a minor in music and a bachelor's degree in "Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education." I'm a hippie in my heart."

What inspires you? 
"Ordinary people who, in their brokenness, overcome. I love dreamers and doers. These people are my inspiration."

What was your most memorable part of the homecoming?
"For me, having only photographed one, it is definitely the moment they see one another, but right before they can embrace. I love the moments that are in between."

Tell us more about the homecoming photos you've shared:
"I have ALWAYS wanted to photograph a soldiers homecoming since I became a photographer, and even before that really. When Dan’s best friend James came home, I was able to photograph his wife and 4 little girls seeing Daddy after 8 month of deployment. I sat looking out the window waiting to meet Meghan and her four daughters for the first time. She had contacted me two days prior about her husband Dave coming home… the day before Thanksgiving. As I waited to meet her, I was a ball of emotions, my eyes filling with tears even before we met. Of course I kept my composure when she met me, even though only moments before I was already overwhelmed. Her four daughters were immediately welcoming to me, which meant a lot since I felt like I was such an outsider in this priceless family moment. We were escorted to the ticket couter where we all received gate passes so that they could meet him right at the gate! The minutes leading up to the arrival were like Christmas morning. Tick Tock Tick Tock… When the plane finally pulled up, we quietly waited. Meghan was so gentle and patient, letting her girls express all the audible anticipation while she held the baby. I knew she was holding her composure for them. Dave came through the door and the explosion of happiness hit me like a wall. Hugs, Kisses, hugs, and more kisses… and or course tears… from all of us. I honestly cannot imagine how my holiday’s can be improved upon having been witness to this moment. Thank you Meghan and your little ones for inviting me along for this morning. Thank you Dave for your service."

Gosh! That was so well written and explained about the anticipation and emotional roller coaster homecomings can be. Thank you Bethany for sharing this homecoming and for starting such a great organization!