A 1962 love story

   Meet Fran and Elmer a true definition of " true love can last". This year will mark 55 years of marriage for the two! You ask why them? Well meet my grandparents who were born in the late 40's and nearly have been through everything. I have been putting together a super unique photo shoot, but also something I can cherish and hang up on my walls at home for keepsake memories. A few months ago it clicked on me! That I needed to create something so special for my grandparents better known as "mama and papa". I thought to myself, what do they like? Where do they love to travel to? What is there favorite thing to do together? Than it dawned on me let's recreate a date where they first met! I called up my grandparents that night and told them my thoughts and ideas for the shoot. Mama gave me the exact details about how they met- keep in mind this was 50+ years ago, that is true love! Heck she even remembered the exact month! I than told Mama to write down there first date for me and any details she would love to include with their pictures. On Wednesday afternoon I drove over to there house so anxious and so excited for this session! So take a look at what true love can be and how Fran and Elmer first met. The last picture is a picture from one of their first dates at The Fox theatre, in Saint Louis.

     I first met my husband Elmer on a chilly rainy day in March of 1962. We met at the Rock Road Steak 'n Shake which is no longer there. Steak 'n Shake was a place where teenagers would meet, hang out and have fun. My friend and I were waiting to meet with some friends, when Elmer  who was in the next car was trying to get our attention. I rolled down the window and stared at him. Elmer said " Your windshield wipers are squeaking miss." I proceeded with " no kidding" and further rolled up my windows. Once our friends got to Steak 'n Shake Elmer knew one of our friends and got in the car. It just so happened Elmer knew our guy friend from high school. He first called my friend and asked her for a date, she said " no thank you." Elmer than called me and asked for a date. I was annoyed and was unsure about this Elmer guy, but I gave him a chance and said " Okay why not." This marked our first date which was downtown at a theatre to go see a movie. The entire movie Elmer was looking towards the ceiling sound asleep. Once the lights came on at the end of the movie he woke up confused about where he was. Back in the 60's there was drag strip known as the Alton drags this was a popular place for teenagers and young adults to hang out. We would go there a lot for dates and of course always Steak 'n Shake. After a few dates this was the beginning of our dating. Surprisingly to our friends and our parents we were engaged within three months. A year later on a beautiful windy summer day in June we were married. June 22, 1963 will mark 55 years of marriage, hard to believe that it is 55 years! We are lucky to have 2 wonderful children and 4 terrific grandchildren! Our advice on making marriage/ love last this long is " stick together through thick, respect, be kind and tomorrow will be another day."  

Flowers- Rouge events and design

Restaurant- Steak 'n Shake

The Jansen Family

Earlier this month I gifted a session to a very strong Family. My Father in law called me and told me about this Family and tears came right to my eyes after hearing their story. Soon after I got in contact with Annette. We talked on the phone for about a half hour. She shared with me her story and how grateful she would be to have this Family session. After hearing her voice and listening to her tears my heart knew that I wanted this session to be absolutely perfect for their Family.

Annette shares her story here:
My story really has no beginning or an end. My name is Annette. I met my husband, Grant Jansen, and best friend while working at St. Charles Police Department. He was a Police Officer and I was a 911 Dispatcher. You can ask anyone that worked with us, we were about as perfect of a match as you could get. After 3 years of dating, he finally asked me to marry him. We were married April 8, 2000. Within 6 weeks we were expecting our first baby. Grant wanted nothing more than to be a father, and I wanted nothing more than to give that to him. It was a fairly normal pregnancy, but we unfortunately lost our sweet “Cole” when I was 8 months pregnant. This was a turning point in our relationship, and we used this pain to get stronger and closer. In 2002, our oldest son Tyler was born. Grant and I were overjoyed that through everything we had been through together, we were finally going to be parents. Two years later we were blessed with a daughter named Paige. It seemed our family was complete...or so we thought. It was around this time that our oldest son Tyler was diagnosed with Autism. We had no idea how trying these obstacles were going to be on our family at the time, but we treaded through every tantrum, every time he left the house in the middle of the night, and the countless hours of speech, language, occupational, and physical therapies because we had NO CHOICE. For the next four years, we carried on like most families. We fought like most couples, we struggled to pay some of our bills, we worked too much and felt exhausted most of the time.

But we also had some amazing times too...like playing as a family outside, going apple picking, and going on short family get aways. It took some convincing on my part, but Grant wanted another child. We were on the “older” side of parenting, so I decided if we were going to have another baby, it needed to be be soon. So in August of 2008 I found out we were expecting our third (and final) baby. I will never forget his reaction. I had privately taken a pregnancy test on a hunch. He was still sleeping. I crawled up next to him, and whispered in his ear “I’m pregnant”. Grant’s eyes immediately opened and he got the biggest grin on his face, and that look has forever been imbedded in my brain because 2 short weeks later my husband...my best friend... my children’s daddy was killed in an on duty automobile accident. The dreaded knock on the door by a fellow co-worker is something that most cops wives have probably thought about but pray never happens. I can still hear the pitter patter of little feet running through the halls of my house filled with uniformed men and women those early morning hours as I paced the floor crying out to God “Please don’t take him!!!” “How am I going to tell them?” “How am I going to survive without him?” “How am I going to give birth to this little one growing inside me without him by my side?” “God, I’m not ready to say good-bye!!!!” I became a widow that day, a Wednesday, September, 10, 2008. I was 36 with a 6 year old boy, a 4 year old daughter, 6 weeks pregnant, and my husband was dead! That day grew into night, which blurred into the next several days of sleepless nights, laying in bed looking at the empty space next to me, clinching tightly to the shirt he last wore as I prayed his smell would never disappear. That time felt like an eternity then. Each day felt like three weeks. Today, it feels like a total blur. Tyler is now 15, Paige is now 13, and little Grant Jr. is a healthy, happy 8 year old. I have raised my kids as a single parent...but not alone. I have had so much help from so many people. My family, Grant’s family including his parents, sister and brother, my very special friends, and my extended family through the Officers at St. Charles Police Department, Backstoppers and Missouri Concerns of Police Survivors. I want Grant to be remembered through helping others who have, who are, and who will travel a similar path as myself. The Jansen story did not end with Grant’s death. It opened up a new beginning for us. It’s taken us a long time to get to a good place, and while some days can still be hard, I’m confident Grant is very proud of his family. As the 9th anniversary of Grant’s death nears, I hope my story is one of Hope, Gratitude, Love and Legacy. That’s what I want for my family, and quite honestly that is what I want and pray for this Country.


The Jansen Family ❤
Annette Behrens Jansen
Thank you to Saint Charles City Police Departmen for allowing us to use a police car and to capture some pictures at the department!

Mommy & Me Session @ Toys "R" Us

Brittney and her Family have been getting their images captured by me for the last two years. From Maternity to first birthday pictures. For the last few months Brittney and I have been coming up with a session for her and Liam before she welcomes baby #2! I have had the idea to capture them in Toys "R" Us for the last few months! We took on the toy store! From Thomas the train, to trying out play cars. We had too much fun. As a mother your first child will always be your baby, we knew we had to make this mommy and son session special!

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Hadleigh is Six Months Old!

I can not believe Hadleigh is already 6 months! Time sure does fly. I met her parents from going to school together. Mariah and I go way back. In fact when I just picked up my first camera to capture lifestyle at 17 Mariah was my first client! Mariah and I hold a special bond. I have captured Mariah and her friends to Mariah announcing she was pregnant. Needless to say I am honored to be their photographer. It truly is amazing to watch client a client grow, they sure grow fast!

Hadeligh is seriously one of the cutest babies ever. She will eat anything and everything. Hadeligh can only sleep with a blanket next to her face, while going to sleep she refuses a paci she only sucks on her thumb. She is a total mommas girl but she knows how to play daddy and always takes naps with dad. One thing Mariah loves about Hadleigh is she will scream at the top of her lungs than grabs mommas face and gives her kisses. Hadleigh has a few favorite toys her blanket and a ball that sings and makes noises. This girl loves to listen to music and dance. I see dancing in her future! Most favorite for this one is the boogie dance, her aunt showed her this song and noticed how much she loved it. Now the entire Family breaks it down on the boogie dance. 
This girl is growing up fast, 6 more months and she will be turning one! Stay tuned for a future cake smash.

For the time being enjoy these adorable pictures of this Family and that sweet smile!