Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alissa and Jamie's Engagement: A Love Story

I recently had the privelege of taking engagement photos for a very sweet couple; Alissa and Jamie. I've known Ali and her family forever, so when Jamie contacted me by email from Wales about his plan to surprise Ali with a visit and propose to her, I was sooooo excited! I had a big secret to keep but luckily it wasn't for too long :) Since Jamie had limited time in the US he wanted to make sure they could get their engagement photos taken during the time he was here. Jamie even made arrangements to have some of their photos taken with a special prop; an airplane, since airplanes have played a big role in their long distance relationship!

Jamie was sweet enough (he is actually a very sweet guy!) to write up their "love story" for me to share on my blog. Enjoy!

Ok, so I'll try to give you the condensed version of our relationship with the main told by Jamie

Fall 2008 Ali arrived in Wales to study at the University of Glamorgan for her study abroad year. This happened to be the university that I graduated from in 2007. I was invited back to work at the student bar during "freshers fortnight", unbeknowest to myself my old bosses had taken on a number of new staff. I began my first shift when about half way through in the main bar after serving a customer a Red Bull, I tossed the Red Bull can into the regular trash. Something I imediatley realised was wrong, but before I could correct my error, a shout came booming over the bar from the other side as an American twang sang out the words: "You can recycle that!" What ensued for the rest of the night was some pretty serious flirtation across the bar, which ultimately led to me telling my bosses that they had done well in employing the American :)

About a week later I had the night off from the bar, and decided to go out to Glamorgan. Having told a friend of my crush on the American barmaid I confidently bought her a drink and we began chatting. We exchanged numbers and the following week went on our first date to a micro brewery in Cardiff South Wales. And continued to develop a strong relationship over the coming months. With the prospect of being seperated by an ocean looming as the school year came ever closer, I decided to apply for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and was placed in Baltimore, MD, for one year between August 2009-August 2010. We continued to date, and our long distance relationship began.

At the end of my LVC year I was due to enter the University of South Dakota to start with Ali, on the Masters in Social Work program. However, due to a technicality in my application for a change of status to take up study at USD my visa was declined, and I was asked to leave the United States, which I did in October 2010. And low, an ocean had seemingly opened up between us. before this decision it was my vision to ask Ali to marry me in April 2011, in New York, Strawberry fields in central park to be precise, as John Lennon and the Beatles are a big part of our relationship. Having been sent home, I still intended to keep to my April date, but the location was altered slightly. However, my dad passed away in February and I pushed back my plans ever so slightly, and I decided to propose in May. Selecting a ticket I decided that the date would be May 27th. I then spent the weeks and months prior to this preparing for my arrival. I did not tell Alissa I was coming, as I wanted to surprise her. However, when her grandpa passed away on May 20th I had to alter my plans again, as she would now be in Rapid City for the 27th.

So I flew into Sioux Falls on the 27th, and Ali's brother in law drove us out to Rapid. We arrived at Rapid City late Friday night, I went straight to see Ali's mother and father, to ask their permission, with that we then went to Aliss'a aunt's house where Ali would be staying. Ali was out at the cinema as her sister who was aware I was coming kept her out.

When she returned I had set out the deck with candles, tullips and a postcard containing the self portrait of John Lennon. When Ali arrived I was at the bottom of the decking, and our song played in the background. She came down the stairs, hugged me and said yes.
Thanks Jamie, what a sweet love story! Wishing you and Ali love and happiness!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Growing up with horses - what a lucky little guy!

One of the best things about photography is getting to meet new people and learning a little bit about them during a photo session. Dillon and DeeDee are new to our community and they have a brand new member of their family; Teegan, who I recently had the pleasure to photograph.

From talking on the phone prior to the session to find out what they may like to incorporate to make the photo session more personal, I knew horses were an important part of their lives.

It made me reminise to my childhood. My Dad had a real desire for me to be a "horsewoman." There were the early morning riding lessons, the cowboy attire, the trail rides with the Vermillion saddle club, etc. I was a bit too timid to become real comfortable on a horse but I loved my horse Lightening and all the horses my brother had along the way; Peaches, Ginger, and Commanche. I just loved them more as an oversized pet, more than riding them :)

Teegan has some growing to do before he fills his Dad's cowboy boots and hat but he will be living every little boy's dream of being a genuine little cowboy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Switching gears for a week.....literally!

As much as I LOVE is time for me to turn my attention to a hobby I have neglected over the past several months as I started my photography business. To give equal time to my bike, I will be spending the week on Tour de Kota, June 6-10th. With such little training I pray the winds will be kind to me and be to our backs!

I started biking in 2004 and have met so many wonderful people through biking, I can't describe the joy of riding a bike with your best biking buddies. Not to mention, how great it is to ride with your daughter! My oldest daughter, Ashley took up this hobby with me. We rode the entire 6 days of TDK in 2006 and 2007, as well as RAGBRAI in 2008. The last few years have been busy for her with her wedding, obtaining her Masters Degree, and having a baby! But I am so excited that she will be riding the first day of TDK with me!

It was also my biking buddies; Nancy, Melissa, and Marilyn who got me hooked on photography - we are the camera clickin' cyclists!

But the only camera I will be packing is an old, el-cheapo, dropped from my bike onto the road several times, dependable point and shoot Sony camera. But there will be photos I promise when I return!

If you're interested, here is a snipet of my cycling blog for one day of the TDK ride from 2009.
© Photography by Cathy Jo