Today I had the opportunity to go visit an incredible family; Jeremy and his wife Amy, along with their 3 sweet kiddos at his care facility in Oregon. 9 months ago, Jeremy was diagnosed with a brain tumor on the left side of his brain. The position that the tumor is located in is inoperable. The tumor is classified as Glioblastoma multiform Grade IV. Glioblastoma multiform is a very aggressive cancerous brain tumor. He is now in the care of a wonderful private care facilities who continues to bless him and their family during his time there.
I am so thankful they invited me to take some photos today. His two girls just had a big birthday! We chatted about homecoming, the big dance and school, Jeremy was in great spirits while his girls chatted with him. His little guy even dropped in for some pictures, what beautiful smiles! I should also say, GO Ducks for Jeremy! Thank you so much for having me out there.
"Who says that my dreams have to stay just my dreams?" Ariel said it the best. Dreams are something that every child has, and we are all about making dreams a reality at Capes and Crowns.
When G told us that she wanted to be a mermaid, our whole team went to work on planning the perfect session for this sweet girl. G suffers from a condition called Alopecia Universalis. It is a condition that causes complete hair loss on the scalp and body. Because doctors do not know for certain what causes it, there is no treatment for AU.
When we initially got in touch with G's mother, she told us that G wanted to include her baby cousin, K. How sweet! We love involving the whole family in these sessions as it is so important to really give everyone an escape from their day to day lives.
When we got to the park where we heard there was going to be a mermaid sighting, Kylie got to work on G's makeup. I bet you all didn't know that Kylie is not only the founder and a photographer, but she's a pretty great makeup artist, too!
Kylie added perfect mermaid touches to help G realize that she really has been a mermaid for her whole life, she just didn't know it!
As we were getting ready, G's cousins K and C were running around and playing. It was a park, afterall! But like any toddler, they found the most joy in the pop up changing tent that we brought along with us.
Once we finally managed to wrestle K into her mermaid costume to match her cousin, G (if you have an almost two year old, you know that I literally mean "wrestle") we were off to the beach!
When we got to the water, Kylie immediately got to work positioning G and really helping her hone in her "Ariel" that was within. And once that camera came out, G really WAS a mermaid!
As the evening went on, we were able to convince K to sit with her cousin for at least a few photos. I am thoroughly convinced that whoever made DSLR cameras able to have 1/4000th of a second shutter speed, they had a toddler.
The sun began to slowly dip behind the mountains and we were wrapping things up, when we saw something else. Our beautiful mermaid had emerged from the water and was now resting on the dock!
At the end of the night, G had a huge smile on her face and she could not stop talking about becoming a mermaid. This is what our team lives for, and to make G so confident in herself and be able to give her a little bit of time all about her to help her embrace how gorgeous she is, that's something that cannot be put into words.
Thank you so much to G, K, and their families who came out for this session. We had such a great time with all of you!
Photography: Kylie and Halsey
It was a warm Summer night when the crowd began pouring into Influence Music Hall. Lights were dim, the atmosphere was full of excitement, and you could hear people whispering about the event and why they were all there.
When we received Gina's application for her Empower session, we knew that it was going to be a photo shoot for the books. Gina recently won her battle against breast cancer. She fought hard, but she also wanted recognition for her family who fought alongside of her through all of the emotional and physical difficulties that cancer treatments bring. She wanted something different and that truly represented their family, so when we saw that Gina, Aaron, Kellen, and Kaley love all things rock music, we got to work with the planning.
If you've been around the blog for a while, you know that our team has a tendency to make some serious magic happen, and this time was no exception.
Influence Music Hall allowed us to use their space that made it possible for us to put on a concert and make this family into the true rockstars that they are.
Complete with 80's Hair Band wigs and leather jackets, we were able to make this family truly feel like they were on the stage of a major concert headliner. A set list of Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, and Guns N' Roses blasted over the hall's sound system while the family lip synced along with each of the songs. Kylie's husband, Jeremy, provided a few guitars and Evan with Influence lent us the rest of everything we needed to make this authentic.
Throughout the concert, watching the family interact was without a doubt the best part of the entire event. We watched as they sang, and danced, let loose, and just have fun together. All of the obstacles that they had overcome became a thing of the past, and they lived in that moment.
As the night went on, friends and family members joined the McCluhan's on stage. The music continued to pulse through the speakers, and the energy in the room just seemed to get better and better.
All of our sessions are memorable to those present, but this one especially will without a doubt be one that we never forget.
Thank you again to Influence Music Hall for allowing us to use your space and instruments, and thank you to the McCluhan family. We hope that you had as much fun as we did, you all deserve it!
Photographer: Kylie Cole
Video: Jessica Clark
Event Space and Equipment: Influence Music Hall
Additional Thanks to: Jeremy Cole and Elissa Baldwin
It's no secret that our crew LOVES the nerdy genre of things. I mean, we literally get to help kids dress as their favorite super hero or character all of the time, how could we not?! We *always* take the opportunity to attend a Con, and have a BLAST doing it! We don't dress up, but we absolutely love seeing all of the costumes and meeting all of the amazing attendees!
Yesterday was our first ever Rose City Comic Con. The sights of flashing Iron Man costumes, a miniature (and adult) Belle, and a creepy Krampus costume were all sights to be seen. Also, more Wonder Women than there have ever been in a room together!
If you have never been to a Con, go. The next one, just go. They really are a one of a kind experience. Fair warning, you'll be hooked after one.
Our main purpose of visiting the Cons is to make connections, network, and get our names known in the community. A bonus is that usually when we are at the events, the celebrity attendees are excited to help by donating pieces that are signed for the annual Gala.
We started off our day by paying a visit to a few of the attendees. We absolutely love having them involved and are so honored that they always want to help us! It's so humbling to see these people care about our Foundation and mission.
First on our list to visit was Danielle Panabaker. I grew up watching this gorgeous lady on the old TV series, Summerland (the one with Jesse McCartney, am I ringing some bells, 90's kids?). She is now Caitlin Snow aka Killer Frost on The Flash along with Carlos Valdes (who you see in the background, oops, sorry RCCC!). She was so sweet and signed not only one photo like we had requested, but she also autographed a second one as well!
Next up on our list was Katee Sackhoff. My husband and I are total fans of Longmire, so meeting her was awesome! Again, she was such a sweet woman! So humble and kind. You'll be able to find an autograph of her as "Starbuck" from Battlestar Galactia at the Gala!
While we were in that general section of the celebrity area, we opted to go ahead and get in line for James and Oliver Phelps (Aka The Weasley Twins from Harry Potter). The wait for them was a long one, so when we saw an opportunity, we jumped in line to get something VERY special from them.
Because they were in Harry Potter, we wanted something awesome. Something that was REALLY memorable since that whole series has such a huge, expansive fanbase.
When we got up to meet them, they were just as excited about what we had brought as we were! What is this "mystery" item you ask? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the Maurader's Map! It has been signed by John and James and Mischief has most definitely NOT been managed.
After our photo with James and Oliver, we had two big names we had left to hit.
The first we went to visit was Jason David Frank. Ring a bell? Let me help you with that.
90's kids rejoice! It's Tommy! Jason is now a professional MMA fighter, so not too far off from his days in his green and white suits. He's still fighting, just not evil monsters anymore.
My husband had found a Power Rangers shirt, so I brought that along for him to sign. However, it was quickly obvious that Jason was someone who really wanted to be involved. After our little speech (as we call it, an elevator speech) about the foundation, he signed the shirt, and then grabbed a handful of photos and insisted on signing all of them for us. Tiffany and I just looked at each other in disbelief at his kindness! We love it when we get an amazing reaction that shows that person loves the foundation as much as we all do. He then insisted on a photo with us, and we NEVER say no to photos.
Our last stop was Carlos Valdes' booth, and luckily Kylie knew his manager so we were able to get his autograph as we were running out the door to head home! Like Jason, he sat chatting with us for a few minutes and wanted to do everything in his power to help us.
All in all, it was a great day. Actually, beyond amazing. Seeing where the foundation is going makes our hearts absolutely soar. We always have an amazing time with one another. Our team works so well together and I feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time with these lovely ladies!
The Cons are done for a few months, which is a bit sad! But we have some prettty exciting news coming up that we cannot wait to share with you all! A lot of valuable connections were made yesterday with a number of people, including vendors who we hope to work with in the near future for sessions and events. Thank you so much to the celebrities who donated and also to Rose City Comic Con for putting on this great event!
There are so many things I love about this "job". The people that we get to meet being one of the top things. We are able to encounter people from all walks of life, who have dealt with unthinkable situations. I love to learn more about their stories and watching their families come together. In the end, in every single case there is one thing that always stands out and never ceases to amaze me; strength.
On July 14th, Deanna and Darren welcomed their beautiful little girl, Ireland, into the world. Ireland was just 35 weeks and although she came out crying, there were more complications beyond the surface. Aside from having downs syndrome, Ireland was born with Transient Myeloproliferative Disorder (or TMD). TMD is a very rare pre-leukemia, which means that Ireland immediately began to receive chemo treatments. For ten days, the chemo was given to this brand new baby girl. After ten days, the battle was not over. Ireland then got a very serious intestinal infection called necrotizing enterocolitis (or NEC) which required not only antibiotics, but also additional chemo. After a few days of seemingly getting better, her infection came back and was then put on another seven days of antibiotics.
As of today, Ireland has been illness free and has been on a feeding schedule for nine days; the longest she has been healthy since she was born!
As I said, strength. Above all else, the strength of these families is just incredible. The Driscoll's also have two older children at home. Their ability to juggle home as well as NICU life for their little girl is astonishing. Their love for one another could move mountains, honestly. When I was in that room with them, I felt just how cherished Ireland is and how lucky she is to have such wonderful parents.
NICU babies truly are one of a kind. Each of these newborns has such an empowering story behind their short lives, and already they are fighting harder than most people will ever have to in their lifetime. And the families that stand behind them through the sleepless nights, the constant trips to and from the hospital, and the non-stop emotional toll are incredible.
Thank you so much to the Driscoll family for allowing me into your world and sharing your beautiful baby girl with me. I had such a great time with all of you and cannot wait to hear more about your story!
Most of you reading this probably know that our team is composed of just a few photographers, six of us to be exact. All of us are parents, and sometimes things come up. In the case of Dylan's NICU session, none of us were available due to child care constraints. I put a call out in my local birth photography group, and within minutes other photographers didn't hesitate to step in. Stella of Stella Maris Photography immediately jumped in and kindly offered her time to do this sweet little guy's photos. We are so unbelievably thankful for her!
Stella, thank you for going and capturing this special milestone for Dylan and his family!
Day trips seem to be trending with the Capes and Crowns crew lately. Although, this one wasn't nearly as far or adventurous as mine and Kylie's trip back in June to Lucille Packard at Stanford.
We received a nomination a few weeks ago for a little boy named Wyatt. Wyatt is a pretty special little guy. He was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, and two years ago he received the amazing gift of a brand new, healthy, heart. Lately he hasn't been feeling too well, so he and his mother made their usual journey up to Seattle Children's Hospital. I had never been up to that specific hospital, but there's a first time for everything! When we received the nomination, I knew that I had to go.
The rest of the team had another session the same day that I was going to head up, so it was just me and Justin Timberlake (90's kid....I have no regrets) on the 3.5 hour drive up to Seattle from my little town just outside of Portland.
Like the terrible Pacific Northwesterner that I am, I had really only been to Pike's Place in Seattle, never beyond that (with the exception of the ferry, of course). I was surprised JUST how big that city is, but when I pulled off of I-5 onto the UW campus (where Seattle Children's is), it was like a whole other world. Beautiful paved walkways lined with endless amounts of flowers and trees, it definitely did not look like the Seattle I just sat in traffic through for the past hour.
Walking into a hospital room, we are never quite sure what to expect. There are always so many questions leading up to things before we meet the families, and it's never the same. When I walked into Wyatt's room, I saw a spunky little guy playing with a deck of cards. "I'm doing a magic trick!" he told me excitedly. "Do you want to see?"
Well of course when an adorable little boy asks if you want to see a magic trick, you HAVE to say yes. So I did. And you know what? That kid picked my card out of the deck! AMAZING! Move over, Criss Angel. Wyatt is going to take your spot at the Luxor!
Once doctors had done their rounds and Wyatt's mother (Amber) was informed of the plan for the next day or so, Wyatt begged to go down to the play room. I had never seen this before at a hospital, but maybe I just have never paid attention. This room had board games, a pool table, video games, absolutely everything a kid could ever want! He and Amber played a game of pools, though the rules were quite interesting. I had never before seen pool played the way that Wyatt played! Though, it did seem to work awfully well in his favor.....
From the playroom, we checked out a few board games. I can't remember all of the ones that Wyatt insisted that we HAD to get, but I do know that Operation and Sorry were two of them. Amber and Wyatt played another interesting version of Operation. It's so strange how children know all of these special versions of games! We then played Sorry! all together, and again, Wyatt won. That kid is one heck of a game player!
Wyatt and I spent the last bit of my time at the hospital playing Mario Kart...with me feeling especially old. I definitely did not understand how the controller worked, but that's besides the point.
I was so sad to say goodbye to Amber and Wyatt. I had a great few hours there and wish I could have stayed for more magic tricks and games. Watching these two together was just amazing. Their family has been through so much, yet the day was filled with laughs and smiles.
Until next time, little buddy. See you again. <3