Archive for Oct 2012

October 31, 2012 Meera: October 31

(Meera is a beautiful 2year old with cancer that I am photographing once a month for a year. You can see more about her here: December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, part one of September and part two, October part one and her story in her mom’s words.)

Today is Meera’s third birthday. This munchkin has lived a lifetime in those three short years. More doctor’s appointments, surgeries, scans and tests than I’ve had in 36 years.

An update on Meera’s health. It has been a lot of ups and downs emotionally for the family since her cancer relapsed this Fall. After two surgeries – the family had decided on the option of a treatment study – which meant that if it didn’t work, she could still do the traditional chemo afterwards. This is no longer an option as the doctors have decided to take a more aggressive stance to save this princess and on November 7 she will be having surgery to remove everywhere that was ever effected by her cancer. This means half her nose, 90% of her top lip, 6 teeth and more will be removed. She will also have a cast on her leg as a piece of her fibula will be used to reconstruct some of her face. The surgery will take approx. 15 hours and she’ll be in the hospital for at least 10 days afterwards. After her chemo is done she will be able to have her reconstructive surgery.

There was a bright light for the family as the Children’s Wish foundation was awesome to quickly arrange a trip to Disney for them leaving today. On her birthday.

And then the roller coaster swooped downwards again.

About an hour ago (just hours before they were to leave) the hospital called about a questionable area on her scan that showed up. So now tomorrow they go back to the hospital for a biopsy instead of to Disney.

It has been a really tough couple of weeks for the family emotionally and financially. But through it all they have pulled closer together as a family, and continue to laugh and love. They are incredible. I would ask you to leave them an encouraging note in the comments here or if you feel compelled you can donate to them here.

But now, we celebrate Meera’s life.

I’ll let Laura’s words to her daughter Meera say it all….

“I cannot believe it. Meera. Our precious sweetheart. Here you are, a very beautiful and soo very grown up three year old. You know so much more then I and most people at 3. You can teach things like strengh and courage to even the most muscular daredevils. Your personality is captivating. Your infectious giggles can make anyones frown disappear. And your smile is absolutely delightful, anyone can see its one that comes from the heart. I am honored and priviledged to hear you call me mama. I love you more then I ever even thought was possible, you mean more then the world to me.”

Here are some photos from Meera’s third birthday party at an indoor playground.

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Laura is very sentimental – and had her friend from Wee Piggies and Paws come and take thumbprints of her girls to make one of these great necklaces you see below. I love it!

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And what is a party without a cake – and what a cake! My good friend Jocelyn of Sugarbelle Cakes gave Meera a special gift for her birthday. And it tasted so good!

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This last picture I found got me choked up. I know what my girls wish for is usually the frivolous and ridiculous. I can only imagine what this little one fighting for her life is wishing. I know my wish for her is that there are many, many, many more candles to blow out for years and years to come. And laughter and love to flood her days.

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Happy Birthday Meera. I love you!

Celebrating life and love,

Krista

October 16, 2012 Hamilton and Jen

Hamilton and Jen are the sweetest couple – with her big laugh and huge smile, and his calm, easy manner… you can’t help but love them! They’re evening Thanksgiving wedding at the Old Mill looked like rain… and then it cleared. Then rain. Then it cleared. Jen decided to go for it – and held the ceremony outside! Loved that! It rained a bit – but nothing to damper their joy. Thanks for the honour of documenting your beautiful day!

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Jen’s dad seeing her for the first time as a bride

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And on to the reception – which was so much fun!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

October 15, 2012 Meera: October

(Meera is a beautiful 2year old with cancer that I am photographing once a month for a year. You can see more about her here: December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, part one of September and part two and her story in her mom’s words.)

Last week, Meera found out she had to go back in for more surgery. This time a little more invasive. A little further in to remove more. The thought of more surgery was so hard for the family. I popped up briefly the day after the surgery to see how Meera was doing. Instead of finding a sad little girl, I found her happily munching on treats, watching TV with her feet crossed. She was chatty and happy – and looked great!

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It has been so neat to see so many people sending love and being so generous to Miss Meera. SOmeone who I don’t know, but has been following her story made her this beautiful hat. Meera loved it!

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Meera always says she’s a princess – this amazing gift was from a family friend. What a treasure for a little princess!

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Real love, is a parent sleeping on what can loosely be called a bed all night with their daughter. Roy had spent the night in Meera’s room and had let Laura go get a full night sleep at the Ronald McDonald House. SO sweet.

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Laura had brought in Meera’s bravery beads – every time they have a procedure or something done at Sick Kids tehy get a bead. This necklace of beads is just since Meera relapsed a couple weeks ago.

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I have some competition.

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WHen I am at Sick Kids, I am always amazed by the strength of these kids. They have gone through so much – but they are still kids. They want to play playdough, make crafts, watch TV and be silly. They don’t sit around and make a big deal about al they’ve been through or complain. They just want to be kids and play.

Meera’s friend Ruby, who is 3, came by for a visit before she left Sick Kids. Ruby had been in a horrible car accident the week before and had lost her Grandma and another family member is still in hospital. Ruby had spent a week in the hospital recovering and was heading home. But at that moment – all she really wanted to do was a craft, play with her friend Meera and act like a three year old. Kids don’t see the IV’s and tubes and scars. They see a potential play mate.

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Meanwhile, across the hall Roy and Laura were meeting with a doctor to discuss options. It is so incredibly hard for parents to see their child ill – but then to be asked to make a decision on which treatment to use is incredibly difficult. Roy and Laura have been researching and studying up on which of two options to use for Meera. They have decided to go ahead with a trial study and her chemo will begin in 4 weeks when everything has had a chance to heal after her surgeries.

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And Ameena tried making a break for it as I was leaving. SO cute.

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She’s growing up so soon and will be walking soon!

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Meera turns three on Halloween – I’m sure we’ll have some cute photos around that time. Stay tuned!

Celebrating life and love,

Krista

October 12, 2012 Dawson Family

I love watching family’s grow… two years ago I photographed this family when Katie had her gorgeous baby bump. And what a fun session as they dragged a canoe out into my yard. And then last year we photographed their now family of five down at the beach – complete with a homemade tent and lantern. And books. Always books.

So, Katie and I started to chat about doing her photos this year. Katie is also a photographer and was doing the 365 project and I loved her photo from January 1st of all of them snuggling in bed. And then Katie’s creativity took off… next thing I know she had her husband drag a bed out to their field to assemble, and we were destroying her feather pillows.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Look how much these kids have grown! So sweet. And their outfits – come on. To answer the question I know you’re all asking – yes, they are seriously this cute.

Little Miss Aubrey….

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The Adventurer Mr. Brant…

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And the Dapper Mr. Gray

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And I did mention a bed right? And books. Always books. icon smile Dawson Family (Katie is in my book club also and her and Blake’s love of books has definitely worn off on the kids!)

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But what kids really want to do on a bed is JUMP!

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Break to snuggle with mom….

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And somehow when dads join in, cuddles always turn into wrestles.

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But then the real fun began… pillow fight!

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Once the kids went back in the house – we had some fun capturing images of Blake and Katie on their own. After 9 years of marriage they still look totally smitten!

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And then it was time for their own pillow fight!

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And I’ll sign off with the last photo I took… so sweet of Aubrey with Gray.

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

October 2, 2012 Baby Desmond

A little while back, I got the extreme honour of documenting Desmond’s arrival into the world. It was such a beautiful experience to document his home birth – you can see those images HERE. And so much fun to come back and document Desmond as a newborn now! We met at their family home again, and it was so fun to see how Bella interacts as a big sister and how the family is adjusting to being a family of four.

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These next couple photos if I was to give them a title would be “I adore Sarah”. Look at her big laugh and sheer joy. Love her.

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This is the look of a baby who is thrilled to discover his parents are so amazing.

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Such a gorgeous day!

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Love this little series of big sister Bella with her baby brother…

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And you know it’s time to go when the baby gives you the finger. icon smile Baby Desmond

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

October 2, 2012 Miss Ameena

If you have been following my Meera posts, you’ll recognize this cutie. Little Miss Ameena.

Ameena turned one recently – sadly the same week they found that her big sister Meera’s cancer was back. Ameena is such a doll. You could not ask for a more relaxed, cuddly little girl – and adorable as well! She has spent much of her first year in and out of hospitals – as Meera was diagnosed with cancer just weeks before Ameena was born. These two girls are so close and have such a special bond. I think these girls will both grow up with an incredible sense of compassion and empathy – can’t wait to see where life leads them.

My friend Jocelyn from Sugarbelle Cakes sent two cakes for Meera with me on my last visit. A gorgeous one for the family to enjoy, and one for a cake smash. I wasn’t planning to do a cake smash portrait session with Ameena but when she was getting a bit restless after a long day, she and I went for a walk and found a nice patch of gardens… right at the hospital ER outside Sick Kids! We got some strange looks – but we didn’t care! Ameena had her cake and I was celebrating one incredible young lady.

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Happy birthday, Ameena!

Celebrating life and love,

Krista

(Meera is a beautiful 2year old with cancer that I am photographing once a month for a year. You can see more about her here: December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, part one of September and her story in her mom’s words.)

The day of Meera’s surgery came and I had to be there. Her tumour – which is between her nose and top lip – was going to be removed. Tension was high, but as always Meera and her little sister Ameena act simply as kids. Meera happily did puzzles and Ameena practiced her walking around the toy tables while they waited for Meera’s surgery.

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And then it was surgery time. Two hours of waiting. Wondering. Waiting. The moment Meera gets taken form her parent’s arms and wheeled away – so tough.

After the wait, Miss Meera came back and the cuddles began. icon smile Meera: September (part 2)

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Such good team work with mom and dad between caring for the two girls.

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There is a sweet video Laura posted the day after Meera’s surgery. Laura says to Meera, “You’re a superhero.” And in Meera’s little voice she says “I’m not a superhero. I’m a princess.” Again Laura tries to say she’s a superhero. And Meera denies – but this time adds “Mom is the superhero.”

Honestly – Roy and Laura – and the parents at Sick Kids are superheroes. They fight for their children’s lives and protect them from harm. It is so beautiful.

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I took Ameena outside for a little bit and when I came back the swelling and bruising had already started on little Meera.

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My friend Christa made this banner for Meera – totally brightened her room!

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A long day and everyone was tuckered out.

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I have been asked by so many people what next? To be honest – it’s unsure. Roy and Laura have some very, very hard decisions ahead of them as they need to choose between two options of treatment for Meera. They are busy researching them and trying to come to an answer. Please pray for wisdom for them.

The financial cost is also very high for the family as they travel back and forth to hospitals and appointments, having to pay for gas and food… and not able to work. Ameena turned one the week they found the tumour – meaning Laura is no longer on maternity leave. I am so thankful we live in a country where medical care is free… but there are still so many costs. There are some awesome ways to support the family online HERE and HERE.

Celebrating life and love,

Krista