Monday, July 27, 2009

Hilltop Wedding: Deanna and Matt

Deanna and Matt hold their respective places in my circle of life. Matt is on the fire squad with my father and Deanna is my Pilates teacher. When Deanna approached me about photos for her wedding, I could not have been happier to be the one documenting her beautiful day! And what a day it was. 

The weather cooperated with perfect temperatures and even graced us with a bit of sun! The ceremony and reception were held at the darling Apple Hill Inn in the quaint town of Taftsville, VT. Deanna planned many of the details and festivities herself with help from Joelle of East Hill Events. The day was simply perfection!

Thank you Matt and Deanna for allowing me to be a part of your celebration and joy. Here's to a beautiful future! xo

Deanna's sister made her jewelry for the day: a very special touch!

Peeking at the groom below... :)

It was a perfect summer day! A cool "breeze" almost blew us away at times, but it kept everyone comfortably refreshed. :)

How I do love the details. Their champagne flutes were from Simon Pearce. I love that they had them engraved!

I am such a fan of beautiful eyes! 

First dance kisses are so sweet...

Deanna's good friend and bridesmaid made the beautiful (and delicious!) cake.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One Dream or Another.

“Why do you have a jet sticker on your car?” the little boy asked me, referring to the F-16 Fighter Jet decal on the trunk of my Toyota. And as his mother and he looked at me with inquisitive eyes, I prepared and spouted out one of my usual answers: a) “It came on the car.” b) “My brother stuck it there and now it won’t come off!” c) “My dad was in the Air Force.” d) “I thought my car would go faster with a jet on the back!”

The truth though, is that sticker (which is actually a removable magnet) was given to me by my recruiter about a year and a half ago. Yep. That’s right: my short-haired, pamphlet toting, easy talking Military Recruiter for the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG). I was one step from joining and three steps from attaining my dream of being a fighter pilot. Then things changed.

As far back as I can remember my father was a part of the VTANG. The first of the month would come around and he would come home with a clean looking, short haircut before heading up to The Base for his weekend duty. He would return home in his fatigues and combat boots, walking into the kitchen to holler “Attention!” at which point all of us kids would tumble into our best military ‘attention’ pose to receive whatever little treat he had brought home for us. It was part of my life.

Each year he would depart for 2 weeks to some far place that I would find on a map and wonder about. He returned in fatigues and combat boots with treats that looked exotic. It was part of my life.

Summers included air shows where I would watch in awe as The Green Mountain Boy’s fighter jets would go roaring by. A feeling of power coursed through my veins. They could fly a distance in 10 minutes that would take a car two hours to travel. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be a fighter pilot. It was part of my life.

In 2007 my dad was called up and asked to go on a mission to Iraq. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was all we were told. He was trained, armed, and sent off to protect a country I only knew of from the Internet and news stories. It was just a part of my life.

While dad was away and I was home filling in the gaps, I thought a lot about what I was going to do with this life. I had so many dreams and desires, passions I wanted to follow and yet...attaining them seemed really hard. I was newly out of college and working a job that left me disenchanted and in a funk. I needed something to prove to myself that I was smart and could do something better. I also felt I needed to prove that to the people around me. ‘See! See! Look at me! I really am a smart kid. And I can be awesome.’ It seemed only right to go after something that had been an important part of my life all these years and so I made the call to my dad’s friend on The Base, “I want to join. To be a pilot. Who do I talk to?”

And thus began the process.

For the next six months I dedicated myself to studying for my ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), went through a rigorous physical exam, passed with flying colors (perfect eyes and weight for a pilot!), interviewed for an Officer position, was offered numerous jobs and great benefits, and had many discussions with my family, friends, and Devin about where this decision would lead my life.

At this point my dad had returned safely home and supported and encouraged me to join a “family” he loved. Was this really meant to be a part of my life? Could I really be a fighter pilot AND be great at everything else I wanted to do? Alongside my Top Gun dream of flying at break neck speeds were dreams of becoming an amazing photographer: An artist that people read about and wanted to meet. Fantastical dreams of galleries full of people looking at work I had created with inspiration, hard work, and determination danced in my mind with clarity. Could I have that and my fighter jet?

Seven months after my initial phone call to The Base, I wrapped up my fighter pilot dreams in a manila folder and filed them away indefinitely for another life. Now when I see a fighter jet go overhead, I pause and wait for the noise and rush that follows it. Even if I ever fully attain my photography dream, I will still feel an energy course through my veins and will want to climb into that pilot’s seat.

I tried once to take the magnet off of my car, but ended up putting it back on. The clean mark it left amid all of the dust and dirt was too apparent. I needed it to be there. It is a reminder to me that sometimes in order to pursue one dream, another must be set aside. And really, that is okay.

Have you ever had to set aside one dream to follow another?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Life is Wonderful: Jess and Josh

The sun was shining, the breeze was warm, and it had stopped raining FINALLY! The only telltale sign of the week-long deluge was the slightly squishy path leading out to the peaceful ceremony site behind the beautiful Barnard Inn Restaurant. Children were laughing, bugs were buzzing, and a friendly dog lay lounging in the sun as I donned my classy rubber shoes in an attempt to stay mud-free. As family members started to arrive, with happy chatter surrounding them, I took up my camera and started to document the beauty surrounding them. Wedding #2 with Justin was going to be wonderful. I could just feel it!

Surrounded by their family members and one very close friend, Jess and Josh vowed to love and take care of one another through all that life might toss their way. Their ceremony was beautiful and relaxed, ultimately about them and who they are as a couple. It was beautiful.

As the guests made their way towards The Inn for an evening of celebrating and dinner, the sun shone brightly, the breeze blew warmly and the bugs buzzed quietly. Truly the day was perfect.

Thank you Jess and Josh for letting us be a part of your beautiful day! You have such wonderful families that were a joy to chat with and photograph. Keep laughing and loving life and certainly many good things will come your way. xo K

Ellen Snyder of Barnard, VT (802-234-6565), florist extraordinaire, did a beautiful job on the flowers. Everyone raved about them all night! I particularly was fond of Josh's boutonniere with the various shades of purple included.

Might you agree that they are surrounded by a quiet calm of true love while the hustle and bustle of congratulations goes on behind them?

Pucker up!

Jess and Josh's ceremony touched on new beginnings and I thought this flower bud fit that concept perfectly!

Jess and her new adorable niece.

Oh Vermont barns and blue skies, I "heart" thee.

The Barnard Inn Restaurant was the perfect place for a small, intimate wedding group. Everything was simply lovely! Not to mention, the food served in the Tavern was delish!

Holding hands is the simplest show of affection, support, and love. Always hold hands!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Keeping Up With Kaht and Devin: Valpo Bound

In t-minus 23 hours, Devin and I will be headed back to the city where we met, fell in love, and got educated. Valparaiso, Indiana, HERE WE COME! This is our weekend with The Girls + Kain (born after the photo series) while their parents travel for a wedding. I am so stinking excited! It's like a mini-vaca with three fabulous children. We get to hang out at the pool, take walks, cuddle, eat ice cream, take photos, play games, eat ice cream, maybe hit up the playground and perhaps have ice cream. My dream vaca about to come true! And it will all be in the company of my dear Devin, who I do not get to see enough off. Rumor has it that we might also get to see Devin's mum and grandma. Could this weekend get any better?!

Perhaps with a little floral excellence, it just might...To start the weekend off early, here are some lovely yellow peonies by my friend Michelle of Petals. The wedding is this weekend, but Michelle put together a bouquet early for me to enjoy (flowers lower the stress of packing for a trip!) and have fun photographing (also proven to lower stress levels :) ). 

xo k

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ryland: A True Miracle

I loved The Belly from the instant I met it. Weird perhaps, but not really: Jess and Matt chose to not find out if they were having a boy or girl (I love surprises!) and so, the baby was referred to as "Iggy" or, my favorite, "The Belly" (2 year old Jane's pick). And so as the months went along, our love for the baby grew along with the size of The Belly. Each month we documented The Belly with a photo (see bottom of post) and tried to hold onto our patience as we waited to meet the new baby.

Finally the night arrived when I received a phone call from Matt, “It’s time.” I grabbed my overnight bag and headed over to stay with Jane. As I hugged Jess and wished her luck, I rubbed The Belly and said, “Be good Baby. I can’t wait to meet you!” There were smiles all around as Jess and Matt headed out the door on the way to the hospital. That night I had trouble falling asleep because I was so excited for morning to come and to call the hospital and find out if The Belly was a boy or a girl. As I drifted off, a goofy smile was plastered on my face.

When I agreed to be the “on-call” person for Jane, I had been warned that she wakes up early….like 5am early. But bless the girl, she slept until 5:21am! Even at that early hour I bounced out of bed because, I was still so excited! After a breakfast of peach pancakes and a little Bhangra to get us moving, Jane and I headed off to join some friends for a morning walk. Jane was purely elated at the special treat of getting to see cows and horses so early in the morning!

When we returned to the car there was a missed call and message. Wiggles and giggles proceeded as I dialed my voicemail. “Jaaaane, I wonder if you have a baby brother or baby sister!!” The message was from Matt and in that instant everything started to spiral off course. ‘He must be tired…’ I thought as Matt’s message sounded strained and quiet. When I called back I got the same voice, but something was lacking. The “new baby excitement” tone was missing. When Matt told me, “We had a boy” there was no joy. I turned away from Jane so she would not see my face as Matt explained that it had been a very difficult delivery and the baby was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for observation and testing. The next few hours would determine how good or bad things actually were. I hung up in shock. Wasn’t it just a few hours ago I had rubbed The Belly (the baby) and sent two joyous parents on their way to deliver a healthy baby? I looked at Jane and with a smile said, “Janey, you have a brother…and his name is Ryland.” And Jane looked at me with a big 2-year-old grin and said, “Ry-Lyn”.

After I dropped Jane off at school I proceeded to call and e-mail everyone I knew who had any belief in God, Buddha, Mother Earth, or any higher deity that could have a say in things. “Difficult delivery: Please keep a new baby boy in your thoughts, prayers, and good karma!”

And whatever higher being was on-call that day listened.

By the time I got Jane home and down for her nap, I called the hospital to get an update. The news I got was not good….it was FANTASTIC! Ryland was going to be okay.

The next evening Devin, my mum, and I visited the hospital to see that everyone was truly well. Ryland was being referred to as “The Miracle Baby” for his complete turn-around and there was talk that he would get to go home in a few days. A weight was lifted from everyone’s shoulders as we gazed at this perfect baby that we all loved.

After a difficult entry into this world, Ryland Walter (named after musician Ryland Cooder and Jess’ father Walter) was welcomed home to his loving family this past Sunday. Praise be! More photos are bound to appear, but please enjoy a first glimpse at the little miracle.

Jane's classmates helped her make this sign. I love it!
Jess & The Belly: 9 Months

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Love, Honor, and Protect the Earth: Julia and Nick

I think that I could potentially learn a lot from Julia and Nick. Not only about how to love someone unconditionally with all of your heart, mind, and soul, but how to use that love and commitment to help the Earth. Julia and Nick are a wonderful couple that I had the pleasure of meeting the day of their wedding. I was Second Shooter for my friend and fellow photographer, Justin Cash, and was very excited for my first time at The Mountain Top Inn. Beautiful! Truly one of the many perfect locations for a Vermont wedding.

The ceremony took place on the hilltop by the Inn with a grand view of the mountains and lake beyond. Both Julia and Nick walked in, escorted by their parents. The ceremony was laced with traditions from various religions as well as a focus on natural elements. In their vows to one another, written as letters on beautiful greeting cards, they promised to love and cherish and help each other create a life in which they live in harmony with mother nature and not against her. My favorite promise was when Julia promised to help Nick chop the wood for the fireplace. :)

After their lovely ceremony, everyone processed down to the Inn for a beautiful evening of laughter, memories, and great food. A special thank you to Chelsea who was a great coordinator the whole evening and to the kitchen who provided us with the fabulous meals!

And without further ado, the photos!

A sweet hug between Nick and his mom.

The tassels on the book represented the elements of Earth, water, wind, fire. (I might have the exact elements wrong, but they were Earth elements!)

One of my favorite "Just Married" shots ever!!

The moment between the fathers after the ceremony was touching. :)

The gorgeous valley. The kids had a great time playing in the dandelions.

The first dance had fun moments and...

sweet, touching moments.

Nick's dad gave the first speech and walked up with a box of tissues. He kept threatening to use them throughout his humorous speech.

Now the dancing....what a blast! The band was rocking and the guests were grooving.

This little man (Julia's nephew) definitely stole the heart of every lady.

Nick's mom cuttin' the rug!

Thank you Nick and Julia for letting Justin and I be a part of the party! We truly had a wonderful time and wish you both the best of luck with everything; life, family, and chopping wood :) xo K