A Big Bunch of Love

I just wanted to do a shout out to my great friend and awesome personal photographer, Jaymee Foster…  She is beyond incredible and I appreciate how much she has given to our family in the past couple of months.  She created memories for me, when I wouldn’t have had any……

Jaymee asked my to write on her blog and explain why having your pictures taken shouldn’t be a hassle,  and why it doesn’t have to be polished, and posed and perfect.  So I came up with this…..let me know what you think and if it conveys the message that she was hoping for.   Oh and a few of the favorite pictures she’s done for us over the last year. Because face it….they’re amazing, just like her!

“When Jaymee asked me to put my two cents into her blog, I jumped at the chance….first of all I love to write, second I love to brag about my photographer friend that I have on speed dial.

I had the opportunity to meet Jaymee through a mutual friend, well mostly I spotted these fantastic pictures on my friend’s wall and held her down and sat on her until she gave me Jaymee’s number. I got the number and I called, and emailed and finally we set a date to have pictures taken.

Honestly I was a wreck, I have three wild little boys, that exude energy to the nth degree, a dopey yellow dog that I wanted included (who also happens to be a spastic goober-face.) How were we going to get the “perfect picture” that I wanted for my wall?

Enter Jaymee:

We met at Rocky, on a beautiful May afternoon, my kids were clean, and honestly shiny…..so the adventure began………I wanted perfection, and Jaymee wanted “real life” so we kicked off our shoes and started to play. The next thing I know the boys are rolling in the grass, playing in the sand and getting…gasp….dirty. So much for my perfect family shot, with CLEAN children.

She promised that the pictures would be wonderful and told me to just relax. She was right and the pictures turned out incredible, dirty feet and all. The pictures are our real life, the funny antics and expressions that make us unique, I realized I didn’t want a stuffy portrait of my perfectly well behaved children, I wanted to look back and remember the little things that make this wacky family what it is. Turns out relaxing is just what I needed to hear.

Fast forward to January 2010:

Our family receives the most devastating news imaginable, our sweet daughter Ireland Elizabeth, the final link to our family had passed away. Fetal demise the doctors called it…sounds so clinical, so cold. My husband and I were devastated, broken and reeling from this incredible loss.

Jaymee and I had a “newborn” shoot on the books, so when Ireland was born we would document her beginning. Things didn’t work out that way, instead when I called Jaymee and asked her if she would be willing to take pictures at the funeral home, so we could have some family memories with our daughter she agreed. We met at the funeral home, and I introduced my tiny girl to my fantastic photographer friend. The pictures she took for us, are treasures beyond words to me. She took a family picture, that truly captures the pain in the room, stoic and haunted. Something that I don’t want to forget. As painful as this picture is, it is healing. In this captured moment you see us through the filter of real life, bruised, broken, but still, incredibly a family.

Again we fast forward to March 2010:

I emailed Jaymee with a thought for a picture, a vision so to speak, I wanted to send my little Ireland some love from her family. Balloons, lots of them, with her name written on them to make sure that they were delivered to the right little girl 🙂 Jaymee of course was on board…

So we picked a Sunday afternoon, Jaymee brought the camera, I brought the kids and balloons and we began. The wind was a nightmare and I honestly wanted to give up, but Jaymee said we should keep trying and we might get something fabulous. We climbed to the top of a small hill and in the wind released a tangled mass of pink and purple balloons up to the heavens while my photographer friend Jaymee documented our love gift to our little Ireland.

We finished up the afternoon with a couple quick family shots of our goofy little family, we thanked Jaymee and headed for home. That evening when I was checking my email, I had a note from Jaymee and the subject line read: The heart is showing. I smiled and opened the email, what I saw took my breath away. The picture showed us; my little family watching as the balloons floated into the sky. I wrote Ireland’s name on every balloon save three, and on those three I drew hearts. Out of all of the balloons only one little heart was showing.

My husband and I stood in front of my computer with tears streaming down our faces, it was exactly my vision, this picture captures the complete story of our new “normal” our lives are forever changed by losing our girl, but in this loss we have hope and we have joy knowing that she is being well-taken care of until we meet her again.

What I have learned in my experiences with Jaymee, is that life takes you places that you never could imagine, happy places, painful places, and finally to places where you can hope again. If I would have been so stuck on having a “portrait” of my family, scrubbed, polished and perfect. I would have missed the chance to experience our life through her lens. This life is a beautiful tragedy, and I am so glad that I decided to not worry about the dirty feet or the gusting wind, because a family picture should tell a story, it should be wind-blown and full of sand with a goofy yellow dog, and some pink and purple balloons.

It should be real. It should make your breath catch in your chest and bring you to tears. It should tell your story.”

So to sum up the great moments that Jaymee has captured for us, I want to say Thank you, thank you for investing in my wacky, broken, hopeful, dirty, and oh so strong family.  We are eternally greatful.  You my friend are a true gift and blessing to me, and I look forward to many years of friendship and memories.

All my love,

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