2018 Mini Sessions

I had a fantastic time shooting mini sessions this fall! The weather was mostly freezing as we had the coldest September ever, but it wasn’t too much to handle for a short twenty minute session. Big thanks to all my gorgeous and hilarious families, I loved having you in front of my camera.

Enjoy a few of my faves from every session!

I'm here

{Written on March 13, 2018}

Lately I've been writing in my head again. I do this from time to time, usually when life gets busy and I start feeling flustered and I realize that I haven't taken any time to get my thoughts out of my head. I write whole blog posts or chapters or captions for my photos. I write letters to my kids or thoughts about one subject or another. Yet, because i have not taken the time to get them out in some written form, they stay swirling around in the great abyss and plague me at the most inconvenient times, say, 2am. 

So here I am. Sitting on my couch. It's late. My babies are all sleeping, have been for hours. My husband is heating up water for my tea and I need to write. I need to write. I just finished listening to 'Teaching from Rest' by Sarah Mackenzie on Audible (for the second time), and was challenged to take time for my creative heart. Do something. Paint. Draw. Read. Write. Pick up a new hobby. Perfect a growing one. Do something for me that will fill me while being a good use of my time. Because an exhausted mama who doesn't even remember who she is anymore isn't really any good to anyone, is she? So writing it is. And maybe taking up watercolours next month, because, why not? There's always photography, of course, but that's a constant and never really goes away. I need to do something more. 

 

 

I have been thinking a lot about my personality these last few months. Homeschooling brought it on, actually. The funny thing about homeschooling is that it's unearthed a lot of things in me and my family that I didn't even know before. Good and bad. I had a lot of anxiety about starting this massive task of teaching my children. I felt convicted to it, almost like I had no choice. It was such a strong urge from the Lord that this was the path He had set before me, and to walk in it. But, I'm telling you, I was so scared. Because here's a little about me: I am not focused. I am not good at multi-tasking. I have an artistic heart that wants to create and run with the wind. I hate math. Really truly and forever hate it. I am an introvert and truly do enjoy my home and have no need to leave the house every day. (please no). Prior to starting our homeschooling life, I had this idea in my head that as a homeschooling mom, I needed to be super scheduled. I needed to be more organized. I needed to have set "school time" and treat it like regular school, just at home.

Well all those things could not be farther from the truth, and it's been such an incredibly freeing year for me. Truth be told, i have struggled a lot during these last almost seven years of being a mother. I have had a hard time figuring out where and how I fit. Trying to find my place in a world that often has felt stifling. I parented more out of what I wanted to be like, rather than it just coming from my heart. I longed for the joy I used to feel as a camp cabin leader in my teenage years. How I put all my effort and energy and excitement into those summers and cried tears of joy and sadness over all the kids I grew to love so dearly. Those were very formative years in my life and now, as an exhausted mother of four kids, I had become someone I hardly recognized and didn't want to see when i looked in the mirror. And to add homeschooling on top of that? Oh Lord, how can You ask that of me? I'm too tired. I don't have that kind of energy. I'm not organized enough. I don't get a lot done in a day. How am I supposed to add this to my list?

 

 

Somehow, this thing called homeschooling has set me free. I have rediscovered my passion. My purpose. It has set a fire in my soul for the hearts and minds of my children. I will set out on this new course, this less-traveled path. I will not settle for less, but I will fight for the time to spend with my kids. This visionary heart that I used to have is back and I am focused. I have discovered that all the things that I thought were cons about my personality have actually become things that I am so thankful for. We can start our mornings slow and steady while we eat breakfast and I feed the little one. We can memorize scripture while we drink tea, and have fascinating conversations about what God is teaching us. We can study famous artists and their work and be inspired to create our own art. We can read our latest novel and get swept up in finding Ginger Pye and learning about New York City with Chester Cricket and hoping against all hope with Laura and Mary that Pa will make it home in the blizzard. Slow and steady. Not rushed. Not on a time crunch. Just slow and steady. Interruptions don't drive me crazy (well, they aren't always welcome, but since I am not so task-oriented, they don't drive me crazy). We can figure out math together, and take dance breaks when it gets to be too much. We snuggle on the couch. A lot. We work together and the kids are all learning to make meals and do chores. I diffuse oils (yep I'm that person now) and we listen to classical music while we learn. The realization that I can create an environment of learning and growth, of family and togetherness, of peace and calm, was so freeing for me. The fact that God didn't require me to be someone else, or forget to give me all the good traits (haha) to be able to effectively teach my children was awe-inducing. Truly. God made me as I am, and gave me the children that I have, for a distinct purpose. 

As He did for you too. Isn't that incredible? The fact that God has set out a course for each of us and has made us WHO WE ARE FOR A REASON. And in our weaknesses and faults, we can grow and learn, and in our strengths (because every personality type has them!) we can thrive and live out our days with purpose. 

And the best part? I have enjoyed my kids more this year than any other time. Truly enjoyed them. Delighted in them. Gotten to know them. Cried deeply with them and laughed hysterically with them. One of my prayers has been that my kids would be close to each other. That they would be each others' best friends. That they would stick together and find security in our family identity. And I am seeing a shift in the way they interact with each other and it makes me so hopeful. I love that I get to have all four of them under one roof with me every single day. 

 

 

Yes, and if you're wondering, OF COURSE we have days that it's just not going well. Days where it feels like the kids may end up killing each other if i don't intervene. Days where it is a fight to get the kids to the table for reading time. Days where the tea spills and Zeke has to poop before I have even finished the first page in our novel. Days where I am feeling too exhausted to care about math and want to throw it all away. Days where I send them outside and call it an outdoor exploring day instead. Yes. But that's ok. That's just life and I am figuring it out and learning as I go.

So thanks for listening. Or reading, I guess. Sometimes it's good to just let some of the thoughts out to make room for new ones. Or something like that. :) 

 

Harvest 2017

So much nostalgia filled our week as we spent it helping my parents with the harvest. I grew up using radios to talk to Dad on the combine, driving the quad out to the field to go for a round with him on the combine, testing the grain, praying for sun and wind, eating supper on the field, fixing machines, the smell of dust and sweat. Growing up on a farm was a good good childhood, and one that my kids don't yet experience. But I am so thankful that for the past three years, they've been able to spend so much time with Nana and Papa and get a taste of that sweet farming life. 

From catching squirrels in traps, to going for ranger rides, to eating fresh peach pie, to combine rides, to fun with cousins, to sleeping in the holiday trailer, to reading books upon books upon books with Nana,  to lattes with whipped cream, to cool mornings and warm days, it was a busy and wonderful week. 

Seth - Newborn Session

I took these newborn photos in January, and am, oops, only blogging them now. 

There's nothing like giving a pregnant mama even more baby fever than she already has like taking photos of her brand new nephew when she is 33 weeks pregnant, haha! My uncooperative hips made it semi-difficult, but it was worth it. Simple newborn photos will always be my fave. 

On that note, I have limited spots available for October and November. Get on that train now if you want to snatch them up! I would love to chat with you. 

Now, enjoy squishy baby Seth. He is the sweetest ever. 

Vulnerability

"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness." -Brene Brown

There is this deep-rooted desire in my heart to be seen. To be seen through the photographs I choose to share, the sentences I choose to write, the words I choose to speak. And that very fact is a terrifying thing. We live in a time of perceived perfection. A time of too much Google to answer any question we may possibly have. A time where we know all the answers to do everything right the very first time we try. And yet this is turning us into exhausted beings who have to strive to keep up the facade of having it all and wanting for nothing. The facade of not ever having marriage tension or parenting woes. The facade of having enough money to buy whatever we want, whenever we want. Of fitting back into our pre-pregnancy jeans and not having 35lbs to lose (wait, just me?). We need to appear that we've got it all together and really don't struggle. Everybody has opinions about everything so we dare not show our hand. We dare not say that we're drowning in a particular hard season of life. We dare not be vulnerable enough to really be seen. To really be known. To hold our hearts in our hands and show who we really are. No filters. No facades. No hiding.

We don't want to show our true selves, and that in itself is killing our society. It is killing our relationships. It is killing our souls. 

How can we feel a connection to someone else if there is no depth? How can we know each other if we feel like we have to hide behind our beautiful smiles in our immaculate houses with our perfect children? We need vulnerability. We need the freedom to not be ok all the time. We need honesty and courage and depth. 

I look around my home and my life and I see a lot of mess. A lot of chaos. A lot of wondering if I'm messing up my kids. A lot of unknowns about the future. I see piles of laundry (seriously, THE LAUNDRY IS GOING TO KILL ME) and enough Lego strewn about the floor to permanently mangle my feet. Our fence needs redoing and I don't know if my kids will ever stop fighting and actually like each other. And how can a two year old sass me so much? 

All we really need in our courageous voice of vulnerability is for someone to say, "Me too, sister." That's it. Solidarity. Community. Authenticity. I'm all in.

Adjusting

Change. 

It's tough. There are no two ways about it. Even the best and most wonderful changes, like adding a sweet little human to your family, are not easy. Everyone has to make adjustments and compromises, and that is especially difficult when you are two (and three and five). 

We now have four kids. Our oldest is five. Hahahaha. Sometimes that in itself makes me giggle. I never expected that I would have my kids so close together. But it so many ways it's so wonderful, and I am so looking forward to seeing their relationships grow as they get older. But right now? It's a lot of crowd control and sticking with schedules so we don't all go crazy. It's having to try to manage my time and making sure that I can give attention to each child, and that can be a challenge when having a nursing newborn to take care of constantly. It's begging God for wisdom to know how to help a two-year old who is confused by the changes and acting out 24/7. 

But there is also a lot of sweetness in our days, and so so so many kisses for their baby brother. What a privilege to be able to raise four little ones. I do count myself blessed, even when I cry out of sheer exhaustion. Even when I don't feel like making yet another meal that they will fight me to eat. Even when the sibling rivalry threatens to drive me crazy. I do know that this is a good life and I am thankful to live it (and I'm not doing any of it alone, thanks to the best husband out there, in my maybe slightly biased opinion.) I might just survive on coffee and baby snuggles, and that will be ok. 

A week of Tate.

"She had nothing to wish otherwise, but that the days did not pass so swiftly." -Jane Austen

We welcomed our fourth little Wolfe Pup into our family one week ago. I will be writing out his birth story on my private blog, but I will say here that the day of Tate's birth last week was one of the best of my life. My anxieties and insomnia led to a lot of prayer in the weeks leading up to his birth, and i had dear friends and family committed to praying for him and I, and it was so evident. The peace I felt and the beautiful answers to specific prayers about bonding with my baby made March 8 an incredibly wonderful day. 

I made arrangements to have my sister (in law) with us to document his birth and first hours with us, and I can safely say that I could not recommend a birth photographer enough. To have those moments saved forever is so precious to me. I will share a few of those here when I get the photos. 

Now, he has been with us for one week. He joined his two brothers and one sister, and to say that they are smitten with him is a massive understatement. They cannot kiss him enough, hug him tightly enough, sing him enough songs and gush about his cuteness enough to satisfy how much they love him. It's overwhelmingly over the top, and overwhelmingly adorable. 

The name Tate means: cheerful. If his demeanor already is any indication of his personality, we chose the right name. He is calm and laid-back, sleepy and snuggly. He eats and sleeps like a dream, and has made me such a happy mama. I am acutely aware of how cruel the passing of time is when it comes to these sweet babies. Time is a thief, and I am already wishing for these fleeting newborn days to go just a little bit slower. Please. Just a little slower. 

Now, here are some of my favourite photos of this past week. A week of Tate.

 

 

2016 Favourites - Client Work

This past year wasn't filled with very many sessions (although you wouldn't be able to tell based on the amount of pictures i chose for this post, haha. I can't seem to EVER narrow things down.) but the sessions I did take on were ones that I loved. Loved loved loved. A birth session (please oh please let me do more of those!), a few Fresh 48 sessions, a few in-home newborn sessions, a graduation session, and then a few other lifestyle sessions. I learned a lot this year, and I think the biggest lesson was to get past shooting what I think other people want, and to truly shoot from my heart. I've tried to compare less to other photographers' incredible work, and view my own work as in it's own category. Something I can keep working on, but something I can be proud of in the mean time and see my own growth for what it is. I'm a work in progress, but I think I always will be. And that's a good thing! 

So here's to 2017. I have some plans stewing in my head for what I want to shoot this year (you know, in between finishing up this pregnancy and having my fourth baby and then taking care of four kids age five and under and homeschooling my oldest and....hahaha) but it is important to me to make time to keep creating and keep shooting.

Thank you a million times over to my wonderful clients this year. You taught me so much, and I absolutely loved spending time with you. 

November || Personal work

"To an infinite artist, a Creator in love with His craft, there is no unimportant corner, there is no thrown-away image, no tattered thread in the novel left untied." ND Wilson

Here are a few of November's happy moments. Here's to a marvelous and festive December!

October|| Personal Work

Another month in the books. October marked our first snowfall, which the kids loved. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and continued with kindergarten homeschool. Life with three, going on four, kids (age five and under, by the way) is always busy, and sometimes life speeds by so quickly because of all the ordinary days that are full of ordinary things that it feels like we have not done any real living. But I often need to remind myself that this IS real living. This is where character is built and lives are changed. The extraordinary IS in the ordinary. My children are learning and growing. We have been memorizing scripture together in the mornings and praying, and I have been overwhelmed by some of the conversations that have come up because of the things the kids have been learning. I am thankful in this busy season, thankful that I have the privilege of teaching my children and spending so much time with them. Time that we will never get back. Even in the hard and frustrating times, I am reminded that it is such a privilege to be a mother and live this ordinary life.

Shawn and Miranda | Fall family session

I often get asked if I still take family photos. And the answer is: yes, I would love to take your family photos for you! BUT. There is a but. BUT they will not just be posed and "Stand here" and "Put your arm there". No. (Not that I am against those types of sessions! Many photographers I know do an absolutely phenomenal job with their portrait sessions! It's just about personal preference!) But my aim with my sessions is that the photos you get will tell a story. They will show you, years later, what your life was like in this year, this time, this day. They will show un-posed interactions and traditions and rituals. They will show the mess in your house (if there is any, not so much in this case! Miranda keeps the most organized home in the world and I am amazed every time by her!) and the honest emotions of your kids. I do not aim for perfection and "say cheese!" smiles. This kind of session feeds my soul, but I also think you will be thankful for them, especially when you are out of whatever particular season of life that you are in. I really do! 

I came to Shawn and Miranda's house while Miranda was prepping for supper with a baby in her arms and two kids at her feet, waiting for Shawn to get home from work, and kept photographing them until bedtime. Life with three little ones can be hectic and crazy, but they handle it with grace and a lot of laughter, and a whole lotta love. Oh so much love.

There is something else I have to share with you, and it is not to toot my own horn. This was Miranda's response after seeing the end result from their session:

"I just finished looking through the pictures. They are so perfect, IT MADE ME WISH I WAS PART OF THAT FAMILY, and that that was my life. Oh wait, it is. Pinch me. I'm not convinced you didn't pull these pictures out of a magazine. By far the best family session I've ever seen."
 

I share this because this was the first session where I truly shot from my heart. One hundred percent. I slowed down my shutter speed to catch the motion. I blurred those faces when I needed to capture emotion. I aimed for emotion and not for perfection. I threw technicalities out the window and just jumped into the moment and shot from my heart, the way I shoot my personal work. And SHE FELT IT TOO. That, my friends, is worth so much. Miranda, thank you for being such a wonderful client and friend, for trusting me, for seeing my vision. Photographing your family is an honour. 

 

Baby Reed | Fresh 48

My sweet nephew was born at the end of July and I got to head to the hospital after midnight when he was just minutes old to photograph his first moments with his proud parents (who were surprised that they had a son after three beautiful daughters!). It was so exhilarating! I am certain I will never tire of meeting brand new babies. There honestly is just nothing else like it. 

The next day I went back to the hospital to photograph him meeting his three sisters. Again, there is just nothing like that either! I have been on the other side of the camera when my babies have been born, and I love having another photographer there (who actually happens to be the lovely mama in these photos, Andrea of Image Row Photo!) to document all the first hugs and squeezes and diaper changes in the hospital. 

Here he is. Beautiful baby Reed (with the best hair ever!!) and his absolutely precious family.

September || Personal Work

"Strange, how the rustle of dying leaves can sound like possibility." Lori Hetteen (follow her IG account, she is fantastically brilliant.)

Photographically speaking, I am super sad that September is over. The September light is hard to beat. But I am going to do my best to soak in October in all it's unpredictability. Really dig into homeschooling, keep on growing this baby, and try to find all the ways to get through the horrid two-year molar phase. Wish me luck! :) 

2016 Harvest

A few years ago, my parents bought some farmland about an hour's drive from their home, that already had a quaint little house on it. We have since been so blessed to spend time there with them during seeding and harvest times, helping where we can and just spending time together as a family. Last week, Trevor took the week off and we hauled his brother's trailer out there and showed our kids the full farming experience. 

They absolutely loved everything about it. Going for rounds on the combine (that brings back SO many memories of my childhood!), bringing back grain to test, helping Papa test the grain ("Nana, we're just back from the field to test. I'm helping Papa test!"), pulling a neighbour's tractor out of the mud with Papa's tractor (or, attempting to, anyway), watching the auger from the safety of the pickup, going for ranger rides on the field, Cruz learning to "drive" the ranger and combine, discovering that the combine relaxes Zeke like nothing else and is totally his happy place, eating Nana's delicious meals together for every meal, camping in the trailer, adventuring in the woods, keeping a lookout for bears, and on and on. 

It was totally our kind of vacation. Almost no cell service or internet access, so it was quiet and peaceful. Crisp fall mornings and leaves starting to turn. Being able to help with the harvest and all the good memories that come with that. Spending time with different family members that came to visit throughout the week. And just good conversations with family over whipped cream-filled lattes and tomato sandwiches. Thankful for God's goodness. Happy Harvest! 

The arrival of Paxton | A birth story

"There is one thing a photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment." - Robert Frank

Documenting the birth of a baby is, by far, the most intensely emotional experience I could ever have as a photographer. And, in some ways, it has ruined me for all other photography work, as nothing could possibly compare to the raw beauty of seeing a mama meet her baby for the very first time. I shot through tears for much of it and it changed me for the better. 

Shawn and Miranda asked me to be there to document the day their son was born and the incredible privilege of that is not lost on me. I arrived at the hospital with the sunrise at 5 AM and was amazed to find Miranda labouring in laughter. Literally. She smiled and laughed her way through much of the early part of the day, much to the amazement of the nursing staff. I documented Shawn being there for her in the really tough moments. The exhaustion. The tears. The defeat. The hope. It is a magical thing to witness the bond of a husband and wife team as they each do their part to bring their son into the world. Her body labours in pain and exhaustion while he works to help, to pray, to bring water, to hold, to encourage. 

Approximately 14 hours after I first arrived, in the early evening, a beautiful baby boy was born. Perfectly healthy and perfectly chubby. I stayed for the first moments; the cutting of the cord, the first breastfeeding, the weighing, the phone calls, the big sisters eagerly arriving to meet their baby brother. Magical, I tell you. Completely magical.

Birth photography is often not understood. Some people see it as 'gross' or 'umm, i would NEVER do that' or 'who wants pictures of THAT?!' or 'there's not much beauty in the way I labour'...etc etc etc. But you know what? To me, it is none of those things. It is a miracle unfolding right before my very eyes. It is God's work. It is watching a mama struggle and labour and allow her body to go through incredible pain for her baby. It is a husband trying to help his wife and doing whatever he can to maybe make things even slightly easier on her. It is the doctor and nurses encouraging and skillfully coaching to bring that baby safely earthside. And it is that baby. That new life breathing air for the very first time. Meeting his mama. Knowing who she is. It is instinct. It is beauty, no matter how you labour. It is nothing but beautiful. It is gritty and raw. Yes. But my goodness, I felt like I was standing on holy ground in that labour room. And I was grateful, so grateful to witness it.

July || Personal Work

I'm neck deep in editing Fresh 48 photos from my newest nephew's arrival and decided to give my brain a little break and put together a blog post of a few fave photos from the month of July. It was an exhausting month for me, which was 100% due to the typical first trimester fatigue (yes, Wolfe pup #4 is on his/her way!) so I didn't pick up my camera as much as I usually do. But we did have a wonderful month, and here are a few photos to prove it :) 

Baby Josiah || Fresh 48

"Honey is sweet. A little baby is even sweeter." {unknown}

I have an exciting few weeks coming up, filled with birth sessions, fresh 48 sessions and newborn sessions. And I'm OVER THE MOON about it. And because I'm on call and can't concentrate on anything but waiting for my phone to ring telling me that one of the mamas is in labour (it's like I'm waiting for my own baby, you wouldn't believe the constant butterflies in my belly these past few weeks! haha) I thought I would post a throwback to last summer when I got to photograph the sweetest Fresh 48 session. I never posted it then because I didn't have my website up and running, so this felt like a good time to do it! 

Ashley and Tyrell have the cutest little family, and spending time with them in their first few hours as a family of four was just the best. The hospital room was filled with so much love and happiness, with big sister taking on her new role with pride and her tired but happy parents watching their two kids in awe. New babies are just the very best.