Josiah and Hannah: A wedding to remember.

What. A. Wedding.

It’s no secret that I don’t say yes to very many weddings for a myriad of reasons. But when i do. Man. I’m so thankful that they get to be like this one.

Our northern town and surrounding communities have been evacuated (in turns, and for a week or a few weeks at a time) and/or been on evacuation alert since May because of a raging 300,000 + hectare wildfire. It’s intense and scary. Our skies have been filled with smoke and constant helicopters carrying buckets. This is the backstory for the reason why the location for this wedding had to be changed four days before the big day. They were supposed to get married on Josiah’s parents beautiful yard, and their home was put on mandatory evacuation four days before the wedding day. So what are a bride and groom to do? Thankfully, they have a solid family and community behind them, and with the help of an army of incredible people and a lot of prayer, managed to pull off an absolutely perfect wedding. Perfect because of the way it was infused with love and joy and resilience, and the knowledge that all that really mattered was that they were getting married in the company of their close family and friends and everything else was just gravy.

I feel so honoured that I got to be the one to document their day. I literally had no makeup left on my face by the end of the night, when i left at 10:45pm. Partly due to the fact that my eyes were burning from the smoke in the air, haha, and partly due to the sentimental tears that kept welling. So many sweet moments, so much laughter, so much intentional thought and care put into the details of their day. And note the time that I left. When you get married on June 22 in the north, you still get to dance in almost broad daylight at nearly 11pm. The best!

Thankful for you guys, Hannah and Josiah! When you handle these weeks of uncertainty leading up to your wedding with such grace and unity, I have no doubt that you will bring those lessons into your marriage and be better off for them. Wishing you two so many years of happiness and love. It was a privilege to spend your day with you.

Now. Enjoy 1 million photos of this gorgeous couple. What a day. What a perfect day.

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.

 

 

December || Personal Work

“I heard a bird sing in the dark of December. A magical thing. And sweet to remember. We are nearer to Spring than we were in September. I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.” -Oliver Herford

December faves. Enjoy, my friends.