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Oh my goodness do I love a good cake smash session. When Mary Lou contacted me and asked me if I was available, I answered with a resounding “YES”. Here’s the deal about this family. Mary Lou is special to me. Why? Because my dear friend Heather (who was my midwife while pregnant with Jojo) was out of town when my water broke. Most of you know that I’m somewhat of a hippy mama and don’t like any medical interventions unless absolutely necessary. When I found out Heather wasn’t going to be able to deliver Josiah, I panicked. I didn’t know what kind of midwife I would end up with for Josiah’s birth. Thankfully, everything turned out wonderfully because Mary Lou was the midwife that day. I had never met her, but she had recently given birth (naturally) to this beautiful boy and could relate to the kind of birth I wanted. She was absolutely wonderful. She had never met me but she held my hand, looked me into the eyes, and told me not to be afraid and that I was doing great when I had a moment of panic during Josiah’s birth. She didn’t think I was strange for singing songs during my entire labor. She allowed my sweet Mama, husband, and Doula to do their thing during my birth. She didn’t roll her eyes at my birth preferences. She was supportive, caring, and kind. I know that this blog is about her sweet boy Cameron, but I had to brag on his beautiful Mama first! I am ever so grateful for her.

Now, back to this handsome boy. He was super shy at first but once the balloons came out he was much happier. He didn’t dig into his cake like other babies have, but he sure did enjoy the icing. Happy birthday Cam! You are a wonderful addition to this great, big world.


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Dignity :: the state or quality of being worthy of honour and respect.

A few weeks ago,  a friend of mine shared on Facebook that her father was being taken home on hospice. The most random and strong urge came over me to message her and ask if she would like for me to come over and take some photos: photos of the little things that seemingly don’t matter now, but in the end will matter a great deal. What little things? Things like playing music, having a meal, looking at old photos, etc. In life, we make it a point to capture the “big” memories such as graduating from high-school, getting married, or welcoming a new baby. But what about those “every day” moments? It is in those moments where memories are made as well, right? To be honest, I felt really weird asking Shenah about taking photos. It’s not common to take photos when a loved one goes home on hospice. But the thing is, I am a follower of Jesus and believe that sometimes the Holy Spirit tells us to do bold, weird things. So I emailed Shenah, and surprisingly she said she was thinking of contacting me about the very same thing. Pretty cool. We arranged a date and I arrived at her parents’ house, camera in hand. I captured some very plain, yet special moments as they spend some of their last moments (at least in this realm) with a loved one.

It had been a difficult decision for them, but Shenah told me of how her father hadn’t spoken or eaten in days while he was in the hospital. When she asked him if wanted to stay in the hospital or go home he said, “Let’s go home baby.”. So that’s what she did. She took him home. She also moved herself, her husband, and her children into her parents home during this time of transition. They had built a wall in one of the larger rooms to make a bedroom for him as well as for all of the children. The comfy leather chair in the corner seems to be a popular place to sit. The day I arrived, he was due for a beard trim. They played music as they trimmed his beard, because it seems to ease his spirit. It was also lunch time. They made him a bologna sandwich because that’s his favourite. So is Diet Dr. Pepper. Shenah laughed and said it’s not the healthiest of things, but at least he is eating now. More family arrived, as well as a long time friend. He brought his guitar and played. Memories were made. We were even able to squeeze most everyone in for a family photo.  It may have seemed like a mundane day, but memories were made and love was shown in the most practical of ways.   2016-02-01_0028PINIMAGE2016-02-01_0013PINIMAGE








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This year we went to Virginia for Christmas, where Ben’s side of the family lives. They live in a town called Smithfield,  known mostly for their hams and peanuts. One of the things I absolutely love to do with my husband when we are there is to go downtown and walk around. There are antique shops and a bakery with the best pastries you will ever taste, in my opinion. This year I told my husband that we should also try to make a special visit and see his old horse, Webster. Webster is getting older and I thought it would be a good idea to let Micah meet Web. We were able to find where Web is now living and spend some time with him. Watching Ben interact with Webster is such a special thing for me to witness. You can tell that Web remembers Ben and loves him. When Ben was young, he took horseback riding lessons from a lady in Smithfield. Around that time, the lady rescued a horse from a neglected situation named Webster. He was underfed, malnourished, full of ticks, and quite skiddish around people. In fact, he wouldn’t even take a carrot from anyone. Until Ben came along. Ben was the first person that Webster took a carrot from. He trusted Ben. Their relationship grew and eventually the lady gave Webster to Ben. It is amazing to be able to watch them interact and still have that bond today, even though Ben lives hundreds of miles away. Ben was very happy that Micah was able to meet Webster. After we spent some time with Web, we went into town so Micah could have some ice cream. It was a wonderful afternoon and full of memories that we will cherish forever.2016-01-21_0001PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0002PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0004PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0003PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0005PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0006PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0007PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0008PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0009PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0012PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0010PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0011PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0013PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0014PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0016PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0017PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0019PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0020PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0022PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0023PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0024PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0021PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0025PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0026PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0027PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0028PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0030PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0029PINIMAGE2016-01-21_0031PINIMAGEV

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You would think that I wouldn’t be so in love with all the babies since I have my own 6 month old right now, but I just can’t help myself! Babies bring so much joy and are such sweet bundles of joy. Yes, they have their moments, but they can’t communicate to us other than crying so it’s really not their fault. Elizabeth is a friend of mine that I met at our birth class. We were both pregnant with baby boys and she had her sweet Isaac a few months after I had Josiah. She has become a good friend and I loved shooting this lifestyle session and spending time with their little girl, Ava. Miss Ava is a sweet little diva. She loved posing and having her picture taken. Towards the end, Isaac was getting fussy but Ava was having a ball and singing VERY loudly. Her Mama asked her to calm down and to take a little time out to slow things down. She sat down and started to pray. It was the absolute cutest thing ever! Even though we were done with the session and our time was coming to a close, Ava requested that I take her giraffe’s picture. Of course I humoured her and took the giraffe’s picture so I had to include it in this blog post. Oh, and you will also find a photo of the baby fussing and their dog making an appearance. I included that one to make you see what a lifestyle session REALLY looks like. 2016-01-20_0025PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0024PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0027PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0029PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0026PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0028PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0030PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0032PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0033PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0034PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0035PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0031PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0023PINIMAGE2016-01-20_0036PINIMAGE

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“There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” ~ Laura Stavoe Harm

This sweet family probably has the most interesting story so far in my birth photography career. Pauline and I had been in contact and had set a date to meet up for coffee so we could discuss her birth photography preferences. It’s important to me that I meet with my clients before photographing such an intimate experience so that a total stranger isn’t in the room. Well, the day before our coffee date I received a phone call from her husband saying she was in labor and having the baby at any moment. I got into gear and found childcare for my own kiddos, grabbed  protein shake, and thanked my lucky stars that my camera batteries were all charged. I got to the hospital in time, thankfully, and was able to capture their beautiful birth story. Pauline did so well and her husband was so supportive and loving. It melts my heart to see these men desperately try and be there in any way they can for their woman while they are in labor. Congratulations Castaneda family on your beautiful baby girl.


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