The nominations are in and they are so amazing and it’s going to be so hard to choose! Thank goodness you’re all voting and doing the choosing! Each family’s story is listed below. Please read them all before you vote. At the end of the post is a link to the voting page. You only get one vote, so send this to everyone you know and tell them to vote too! I’ll be posting the link to this post and the voting link on my Karyn Kelbaugh Photography Facebook page, so you can share it from there as well, or just share this link on your Facebook, Twitter or through email and get the word out so that we can get lots of votes! Just a reminder that only votes made through the voting link (see the bottom of the page) will count. Likes and comments (while encouraged and awesome) do not count as votes.
Voting will be closed at 11:59 p.m. on December 19, 2011. So don’t wait.
The exact votes for each family will not be posted, but I will keep you up to date on how the voting is going, who’s in the lead, if it’s getting close, etc. Just watch the Facebook page. I will announce the winner on the 20th.
A little reminder about What the Winning Family Will Receive: They will get a free custom photography session with Karyn Kelbaugh Photography, including all the images and a small selection of prints, including one nice wall print for their home.
The stories below were written by whomever nominated the family.
Family #1 – The Aguirre Family
I have been married to my husband Michael for 16 years and 2 months and we have 2 children, Courtney who is 16 and Brandon is 14. My husband and I met in the Navy. He got out in ’96 and I in ’98. Since then we have struggled financially and we never had the money to get a family portrait every year. My husband would say he would like a family portrait but that still can’t happen this year because back in April he lost his job. He applied every place he possibly could, so he thought of going to college so that he could make a difference in our lives. Throughout this time he received unemployment, he continued to look for a job and finally found a job but they are only giving him 12 hours a week. This other job he tried for would cost him his ability to go to college. They were not willing to work around his school schedule therefore he just lost his unemployment and low and behold we now have to start paying his school loan. If we were able to get a free custom family portrait session we would finally have the family photos we never had.
Family #2 – The Jones Family
My grandson is a special needs child (age 4) and my daughter is overwhelmed in debt caring for him. She also has a 2 year old little girl. She and her 2 children are in much need. They have a space heater to keep warm and are in need of kids clothing and toys. They have nothing planned for Christmas. Any and all help would be appreciated. God bless.
Family #3 – The Bellomy Family
Our family has been through so much this last year. I was diagnosed with cancer in March and by May I had major surgery. My husband was laid off over a year a go and we have struggled by ,just barely hanging on. Our two boys Jack and Max would not have had a Christmas last year if it had not been for the kindness of others. This Christmas is different. I am cancer free and beginning to regain my strength. It is so great to have the energy to cook a meal. My husband found a job after months of trying. Go Chris! We currently have no family portrait of the four of us together. I would love to be able to look on our wall and admire my strong guys smiling back at me from Our living room wall. I know I would not be alive today had it not been for them, lifting me up and giving their best to take care of me. I am so grateful to be alive and able to spend time with them at home, instead of from a hospital bed during the holidays. This year has been a year of feeling extremely grateful for all of our blessings. Thank you for donating your work, you make people smile when you do things like this. Good for you. I hope that those of you that read this will take the time to vote for me,so I’m able to do something nice to give back to my guys. They deserve it. Be blessed, Marjorie.
Family #4 – The Smith Family
I have never met a family quite like the Smiths. First of all, you have the Mom and Dad (standard) and add to that FIVE kiddos! This family is always kind, considerate, polite, friendly and all around wonderful. Every one is a member of a the “family team” and they all pitch in to help each other. So, if the 3 year old is upset and needs something, the 5 year old might be the first one to sing to her or share a snack. Or the 8 year old might hold the 8 month old baby when he is crying until Mom can get her hands free. How does a family like this juggle the daily tasks of life? I want to hang out with them more and learn all of their secrets—or hope they rub off on me. Also, the Mom is always so kind and unshaken by the little stresses in life. She is steadfast and selfless. I NEVER see her angry. Again, what is the secret? I want to be like her! I believe this family is completely deserving of a family portrait session because I can only imagine that their budget doesn’t include the extras in life that other families take for granted day to day. They are a beautiful, humble, deserving family and they need awesome photos to always look back to and cherish each other and memories. I LOVE THIS FAMILY!
Family #5 – The Gramkow Family
Oh where to begin with the Gramkow family! I am sure I won’t touch on everything but wow has this family been through it!!! This family had grown and blossomed. They welcomed their first bundle of joy to the family at 28 weeks gestation, weighing in at 2 lbs. 7.5 oz. Ellie may have started out small but after 71 days in the NICU she got to go home! Ellie is now a beautiful happy three year old! Next came number two Beckett arrived on September 23, 2011; at 25 weeks gestation weighing in at 2 lbs. 2.6 oz. He has surpassed his sister in number of days in the NICU, but once again has fought a hard fight! Hopefully with any luck he will even be home for the holidays with his family! What a great Christmas gift that would be for this special family! I get chills every time I read an update on the family blog (elliegramkow.blogspot.com) about how the kiddos are doing! You ask why I nominated this family?? After all they have been through last night I read on my Facebook account that some heartless people broke into their house and took valuables and children’s gifts from under their tree, meanwhile destroying property and making a royal mess of their house. I know I didn’t say everything but take a minute and look at this families blog, read it, think about it, and learn from it! Know that even when you get thrown a curve you are not expecting you can learn and grow from the experience.
*Some of the names have been changed.
I just wanted to let you know that if anyone was particularly touched by any of these stories and wanted to send a little more love their way, please contact me and I can put you in touch. Share the Love. =)
Thank you for voting! Don’t forget to spread the word!