Archive for Dec 2011

December 31, 2011 Miss Meera

I love New Year’s… a time to reflect, dream and anticipate change. I like to do personal projects with my photography to keep me snapping for the love of it. I haven’t done a formal project – but I have wanted to do a personal project like this one I’m starting for awhile – but had to meet the right person. When I met Meera – I knew.

You may remember me blogging recently about photographing at the Ronald McDonald House. While there, I met beautiful two year old Meera and her wonderful mom, Laura. Less than a month before Meera’s little sister, Ameena, was born – Meera was diagnosed with cancer. Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma more specifically – a form of cancer that effects only a few hundred in the United States each year. I can’t even imagine what Laura was going through with having to deliver a baby, and dealing with the shocking news of her firstborn. August 29, 2011 – Meera was diagnosed. Sept. 17, 2011 – Ameena was born. As a mom of two little girls myself (and about the same age difference)… this just hit home to me.

Through social media Laura and I have been chatting… and starting in January, I will be photographing Miss Meera once a month for a year. Not the “smile-and-sit-still” portraits – but images that show her journey. What a day in the life of Meera looks like. Good and bad.

I am excited to see where this year will take Meera and her family. Their slogan has been “I believe in MEERA-cles.” Hoping you will all believe alongside us as I share each month about little Miss Meera.

Some friends of Laura’s have started fundraising through online sales of great baby products to help offset the costs of medication and travel, etc. Check them out here (and read in more detail some of Meera’s story). I love their “Spit on Cancer” bibs! Reminds me of the “Cancer Sucks” shirts we made up when my dad went through cancer!

But for now… let me introduce you to Meera. And I invite you to journey alongside us this year as we believe in Meera-cles and update you each month. Warning – you will fall in love with her. She’s so infectious with her smile and charm.

MEERA2011 015 Miss Meera

MEERA2011 023 Miss Meera

MEERA2011 024 Miss Meera

Celebrating life and love,


December 30, 2011 Dave’s Family

Growing up my brother and I fought so much we weren’t allowed to sit beside each other – my sister always had to separate us. My mom was convinced we’d grow up to never speak and hate each other. So glad to report mom was wrong!

My brother is now the dad of 4 kids and married to a great gal.. and so when they asked for family photos I gladly agreed! Meet my brother, Dave and his family – all the photos were taken out at their home with about half an hour of daylight left.


0013 IMG 5411 Daves Family

0006 IMG 5889 Daves Family

Look at Mason’s face (the youngest one) – he cracks me up!

0008 IMG 5904 Daves Family

0015 IMG 5932 Daves Family

Let me introduce you… this is my brother and his lovely wife Melissa. Melissa is so calm always and a great addition to our family!

0010 IMG 5922 Daves Family

My oldest niece Kirsten who is 16. I still remember her as the little girl in her dress up clothes and plastic high heels. She is a gorgeous, generous young woman now though!

0004 IMG 5868 Daves Family

And Hannah who is 10 and my girl’s best friend. We love having Hannah come over and play!


0001 IMG 5831 Daves Family

My 5 year old nephew Cohen – he had to have his front two teeth pulled and I love the mischevious look!


0003 IMG 5848 Daves Family





























And Mason. Oh Mason. This 3year old definitely lives up to his red hair – full of spunk!

0002 IMG 5836 Daves Family




0009 IMG 5912 Daves Family

0016 IMG 5946 Daves Family

0018 IMG 5960 Daves Family

0019 IMG 5977 Daves Family


















December 29, 2011 Ronald McDonald House

As I mentioned in my last post, I love going to the Ronald McDonald House to photograph. Being a part of the Smiling Eyes team means we have the fortune of going to photograph at the RMH – a different photographer each month. I always try to request December. December is such a busy month and it is so easy to get caught up in shopping, eating and socializing… it’s good to sit back and really count our blessings and realize how good we have it with health, family and sleeping in our own home. For those without those luxuries, I am so grateful their is such an amazing place like the Ronald McDonald House. This time I Got to photograph at the brand new location that had only been open about 3 weeks. What a gorgeous place! So nice for families to have an apartment, room to be on their own, and an amazing support network!

HEre are a few of the amazing people I got to meet this year….

MEERA2011 015 Ronald McDonald House

MEERA2011 023 Ronald McDonald House

0003 IMG 6717 Ronald McDonald House

0020 IMG 6820 Ronald McDonald House

0018 IMG 6816 Ronald McDonald House

0002 IMG 6536 Ronald McDonald House

0010 IMG 6555 Ronald McDonald House

JORIAN2011 014 Ronald McDonald House

JORIAN2011 018 Ronald McDonald House

JORIAN2011 025 Ronald McDonald House

NOAH2011 008 Ronald McDonald House

NOAH2011 016 Ronald McDonald House

0004 IMG 6836 Ronald McDonald House

REBECCA2011 033 Ronald McDonald House

REBECCA2011 021 Ronald McDonald House

REBECCA2011 002 Ronald McDonald House

MEERA2011 024 Ronald McDonald House

Celebrating life and love,


December 15, 2011 Heart for Bieber

One of my favourite things in December to do is to take time to bless people with the gift of memories. I always find I’m more blessed by the people I meet, than they ever could be by my small gift. Yesterday I was at the brand new Ronald McDonald House in Toronto and photographed some beautiful families with incredible stories of love, hope and strength. I am still downloading the images – but wanted to share this one for now.

Meet Rebecca. Your typical young woman – loves makeup, clothes, taking photos and drawing… and Justin Bieber. Her face absolutely lit up when I asked if she liked Justin Bieber. Rebecca told me how they came for the Junos all the way from Nova Scotia just in hopes Justin Bieber might show up. And she’s tried for years to get to one of his concerts without luck. A friend suggested posting Rebecca’s photo and story – in hopes someone may have connections and hook a girl up. I have heard rumblings of a secret concert of Bieber in Toronto next week… would make this girl so happy!

The other thing about the lovely Rebecca, she is from Nova Scotia but here in Toronto (and has been here since August already) waiting for a heart transplant. If you remember Rebecca – please pray her a new heart for Christmas!

0001 IMG 6566 Heart for Bieber

Celebrating life and love,


December 15, 2011 New Family

It was so exciting to meet this family – I strongly believe every child needs a loving, safe home and so I was thrilled to hear that these two little guys found their way into one extremely loving home. For keeps. What an exciting Christmas this will be for this new family of four! You could feel the connection between these four immediately – lots of cuddles and laughs. What a Christmas blessing!


This is what greeted me at the door. Be still my heart.

0008 IMG 6251 2 New Family

Followed by this Elmo-loving munchkin.

0002 IMG 6233 2 1 New Family

No they’re not twins – but man! Are they sweet!

0016 IMG 6317 2 New Family

As a book lover, I loved seeing this family cuddle up with a book together. So great for kids!

0001 IMG 6227 2 New Family

0013 IMG 6270 2 New Family

0010 IMG 6266 2 New Family

0021 IMG 6352 2 New Family

This picture is pure contentment. Dad right where he is supposed to be.

0020 IMG 6348 2 New Family

This Christmas will be so much fun!

0004 IMG 6239 2 New Family

0090 IMG 6424 New Family

0023 IMG 6364 New Family

And then it’s off and running we go… mom has her hands full. The boys were running before she even got her shoes on! (Not many Decembers you can run out the door in sock feet!) I just love the image on the right. Such love.

0027 IMG 6020 1 New Family

0050 IMG 6131 New Family

0032 IMG 6036 1 New Family

0026 IMG 6014 1 New Family

0056 IMG 6165 New Family

0040 IMG 6405 New Family

0046 IMG 6415 New Family

0041 IMG 6077 New Family

0045 IMG 6087 New Family

0047 IMG 6114 New Family

0064 IMG 6225 New Family

0086 IMG 6334 1 New Family

0085 IMG 6325 New Family

0082 IMG 6315 New Family

0059 IMG 6191 New Family

0058 IMG 6189 New Family

0078 IMG 6299 New Family

0068 IMG 6250 New Family

This little cuddle happening on the right – melt my heart.

0070 IMG 6259 New Family

0052 IMG 6142 New Family

0054 IMG 6145 New Family

0080 IMG 6309 New Family

0075 IMG 6293 New Family

0077 IMG 6295 New Family

And the very proud parents. What fortunate little guys.

0072 IMG 6280 1 New Family

Celebrating life and love,


December 14, 2011 Waddell Family

15 years ago (or more) Scott and I went to College together… haven’t seen him since! So it was great to reconnect with him and meet his family as we got together on a chilly December morning to photograph his family. They are a great family who obviously get along very well and have a lot of fun!

0001 IMG 5521 Waddell Family

0010 IMG 5568 Waddell Family

0008 IMG 5557 Waddell Family

0007 IMG 5549 Waddell Family

0015 IMG 5642 Waddell Family

0025 IMG 5746 Waddell Family

0027 IMG 5753 Waddell Family

0030 IMG 5776 Waddell Family

0031 IMG 5780 Waddell Family

0023 IMG 5727 Waddell Family


Walking nicely with his big brother…

0016 IMG 5644 Waddell Family


Until he notices the camera!! ha ha

0017 IMG 5650 Waddell Family



0024 IMG 5739 Waddell Family

0040 IMG 5836 Waddell Family

0038 IMG 5826 Waddell Family

0044 IMG 5931 Waddell Family

0043 IMG 5929 Waddell Family

0041 IMG 5860 Waddell Family

It was the Santa run in Burlington that morning – there were Santas everywehere!!

0048 IMG 6067 Waddell Family

0046 IMG 5965 Waddell Family

0051 IMG 5977 Waddell Family

0055 IMG 6011 Waddell Family

0053 IMG 6000 Waddell Family

Celebrating life and love,


December 6, 2011 15years…

There is something so exciting about new love. The anticipation, the unknown of how things will evolve, and the excitement of each glance, touch and word. But lately, I’ve been marveling at love that’s seen bumps in the road. Seen the good, the bad and the very ugly. Love that hasn’t always felt like warm fuzzies. Love that is a support, a joy, and a most welcome presence.

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary.

When I think back to life pre-Mark I can’t remember it – and I marvel that I was even able to function without him. I also laugh at the Krista of newlywed bliss… I had no idea how hard, messy, challenging, stretching, rewarding and life-changing marriage would be. It’s like parenting – people tell you daily when you’re pregnant “it goes by so fast” and “savour each moment”…. but I think the same could (and should!) be said of marriage. And I think that’s the advice I’d offer newlywed Krista – or any newlywed – today.

“It goes by so fast”… My book club just finished reading “The Happiness Project” and in it there was the reminder to live in the now. Sometimes we think we’ll be happy when…. we have kids, buy a house, finish school, pay off our mortgage, go on a vacation, have the kids move out…. and suddenly life has passed us by while we were waiting for it to get good. Instead, enjoy the journey – not just the destinations.

“Savour each moment”… very early in our marriage – I think we were married a month or two at most – Mark and I met at the bank on our lunch breaks to sign for our joint account. I had to hurry back to work so as soon as I was done, I waved goodbye to Mark and started to rush out. The bank teller called me back. I was sure I had forgotten a signature or something. “What do you think you’re doing? How long have you been married?” I had no clue what she was getting at. “Why didn’t you give your husband a kiss goodbye?” I blushed – I’m not one for being all affectionate in public places. “Every time you leave, you don’t know if you’ll ever see him again. You never know what could happen! Never leave without a kiss goodbye.” That simple reprimand has stayed with me. Savour each moment. Yesterday I was running out the door and said a quick goodbye and grabbed my keys… As I opened the door to leave I heard “Um… aren’t you forgetting something?” Thank bank teller had no idea she was helping us create a new habit that has taught us to savour each moment.

I am thankful daily for my Mark. He supports, understands, encourages, dreams, and challenges me. I have tried to write this post many times to put into words how thankful I am for him in my life. But I can’t. Sure, I’ve rambled here… but my heart full of gratitude for him can’t be expressed. So, I’ll simply leave it by saying it is an extreme honour to be Mark’s wife.


If you’ve read the blog for awhile you may remember that back in February I blogged how I have no real photos of Mark and me together. Sad but true. But, I fall into the trap most women do… “once I lose weight” “When my hair grows a bit longer” and the excuses piled up. But, I needed to do this. So, I booked my dear friend Beth to come and do some photos of the two of us out at our house. I almost cancelled the session many times – but I knew that when my kids look back at these photos they won’t say “too bad mom didn’t wait until she lost a bit more weight” (or they better not say that!) but instead I hope they say “look at how mom and dad love each other.” So – thank you Beth for the gift of these images.

IMG 00164 15years...

IMG 00169 15years...

IMG 00133 15years...

IMG 0099 15years...

IMG 00310 15years...

IMG 00174 15years...

IMG 00243 15years...

IMG 00283 15years...

IMG 00274 15years...

(The quilt I made for Mark back when we were dating….)

IMG 00230 15years...

IMG 00240 15years...

IMG 00220 15years...

IMG 00345 15years...

IMG 00371 15years...

IMG 00379 15years...

IMG 00396 15years...

IMG 00400 15years...

Celebrating life and love,


December 1, 2011 Madison

Madison has always been my world changer. When she was 3 she was appalled when we read her about our World Vision child’s needs. “No clean water?” She was shocked. And started to sell bottles of water to raise money for clean water. A couple years later she was home sick from school and saw a commercial for World Vision and was desperate we had to do something. NOW. Again, she took to fundraising – drew some pictures she sold to raise funds for World Vision. Madison loves to know about the places and people we care about – Haiti, clean water, children starving, people in need… while we have so much.

A couple years ago while I was photographing at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto I had the honour of photographing a teenage girl with cancer the same day she received her wig. I have never seen anyone walk so high or so proud out of any hair salon. She beamed. I showed my girls the photos, and they knew they wanted to donate their hair for wigs for people going through cancer. Madi has been asking me over and over when she can do this – but I thought it had to be a minimum of 10inches – I was thrilled to discover this week it doesn’t! (It actually only needs to be a minimum of 6 inches). As soon as I found out – I made her a hair appointment. She looks beautiful – inside and out. Love my girl!


0001 IMG 5499 1 Madison


0004 IMG 5510 Madison

0005 IMG 5512 Madison

0006 IMG 5513 Madison

…and Before and After! Beautiful!

0001 IMG 5499 Madison

Celebrating life and love,