December 9, 2013 Stone Family

I love this family. They are the real deal. They are always laughing and smiling and joking and… they are a complete joy to be around. They are so generous with their time and talents – everyone who knows them LOVES them. Such an honour to be their friends.

It snowed this morning and I sent Sarah a quick text as we’ve been chatting about doing family photos. “It snowed…..” and thats all it took. A couple hours later we had the quickest photo session of all time as it was COLD. I think it was literally 5minutes outside. But it was fun – and the kids as always were adorable. Can’t wait to meet baby # 3 soon! It’s been fun to document Sarah’s two pregnancies, newborns, family and even Desmond’s birth!

 
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And inside to warm up!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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November 26, 2013 Evelyn’s Smiling Eyes

I met Evelyn last week – and what a sweetheart! In August two year old Evelyn was diagnosed with leukemia but this has not kept her down. She is still a fun loving, sweet toddler who loves mom, dad, big sister Charlotte… and her stuffed lion! We enjoyed the last warm day of Fall down at the water.

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She’s even kissable without her hat on! icon smile Evelyns Smiling Eyes

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The girls looking at all teh bravery beads – can’t believe how many she has collected just since August!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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November 20, 2013 The Maggies

Our family loves road trips – and this summer we decided to head out on an adventure. Since we are in the process of adopting (see more about that HERE) we never know when our family might expand to include little people who might not enjoy a long road trip so decided we better do this!

I know. I know. It’s November. Everyone is thinking of Christmas… and I’m blogging about a summer vacation? I finally have the time to sit down and go through images though – and I like to blog about it as it’s a personal record for me also. So bundle up on this chilly winter night and enjoy some pics of summer! icon smile The Maggies

We finally settled on a place I’ve wanted to go for a long time. Iles de la Madeleine – also known as the Maggies. My dad had spent some time there with work and his descriptions of it had long intrigued me. We couldn’t find very much info on the Maggies – but thought we’d give it a try! The Maggies are actually part of the province of Quebec – but to get there it’s a 5 hour ferry ride from PEI. So this meant we drove to PEI, and then took a boat to the Maggies. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect – but I will simply say it was magical. If you like to see a place that is entirely authentic – virtually no tourism – then this is the place. We were on the island a week and in that time we saw one other license plate that was not from Quebec (from NY state). The island is french – not french like Montreal or Quebec City where it seems just about anyone can easily switch to English – this is french where they often don’t speak a lick of English. There are no signs directing you to tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants – maybe because the restaurants and hotels are scarce and the tourist attractions are everywhere. Amazing beauty – at any point you are within reach of the water and amazing beaches – and usually you’re the only people on the beach!

But let’s see some pictures!

We love road tripping – lots of books to read and audio books to listen to! This summer our girls were on a Percy Jackson (Madison) and Warrior Cats (Eden) kick so they were whipping through those as the miles went along.

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We love random tourist stops – like the world’s biggest axe – and this one was the world’s longest covered bridge.

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There goes Mark and the bikes through the bridge while we girls jogged the footpath for a stretch!

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Finally we got to Prince Edward Island. We love PEI and have enjoyed a few family vacations there – but this time it was just a stopping point. We stayed with a good friend of mine – and fellow photographer – Rachel. We had one night and then it was off to catch the ferry! Rachel took us to a “kitchen party” where we danced and laughed!

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The next day we loaded the ferry and headed off on our adventure!

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Bye bye PEI!

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5 hours on a ferry… fortunately they had lots of different areas to hang out in and board games and such. It was fun!

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Our first glimpse of the Maggie’s – in that gorgeous evening light – took my breath away. The coloured homes along the islands started to pop up. The Maggies are actually an archipelago – a cluster of islands and you can drive from island to island.

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The first night we stayed in a hostel as we arrived at 8pm and wanted to start on a good night sleep! The rest of the time we camped in our tent. There are barely any trees and so it is always windy!! We went inland a bit (you know – a whole 5minutes from the water rather than on the water) and found a treed camping ground and camped for the week! Once we arrived at the hostel we dropped our bags and set out on foot to explore. We were already in love at this point.

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The next day we picked an island and a beach and headed out to explore. This beach listed in the one tourism booklet we found – was a bumpy dirt road that seemed to go on without end. The directions were by landmark and not road name. We started to wonder if we made a wrong turn – but eventually came upon a great beach where we were the only ones. Beautiful sand dunes that we ran up and down and white soft sand!

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We then found another beach – red cliffs on one side and white cliffs on the other, white sand, a lighthouse and… no one in sight. I was loving this.

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The colourful houses are everywhere – and you saw so many interesting combinations of colours (and people outside painting and repainting their houses – must be tough to keep up those vibrant colours on such a windy island!)

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Another beach we went to that week was I think my favourite. 12km long – gorgeous, pristine white sand… and again – no one in sight. We walked and walked and walked – and saw no one. A few days earlier they had had tehir annual sandcastle contest and somehow miraculously they still stood (with a few dings from the wind).

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My little book worm took lots of notes on the Maggies.

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Another day we took a hike and enjoyed amazing views!

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This next series of three crack me up. So typical.

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Another day we explored the red rocks at low tide – such fun!

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We took another hike – had to hike down a beach to get to these cliffs and rocks and incredible views!

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One thing the one tourism booklet we had mentioned was the Acadian festival. If there’s anything I love it’s a festival. We asked everywhere and no one knew anything about it. Then we were in a shop (where we had just asked if they knew anything about the festival) and heard this racket. The festival had arrived. Cars and vans and trucks all decked out in the Acadian flag and colours did a “parade” (drove in a line honking and honking and honking). It was so fun! ANd loud.

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A beautiful night down at the docks!

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Our last day we rented e-bikes and explored the island right until we had to load for the ferry. We went out to some new beaches we hadn’t tried yet and had an amazing last day!

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Farewell Maggies!

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And just to prove I was there – one image of my favourite guy and myself.

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We loved the trip – it was so much fun and a really beautiful place. In ways it reminded me of Iceland (you can see a few pics from that trip HERE if you scroll down) – totally untouched, not commercialized, authentic and pure. We would totally recommend the Maggies!!

There may be a part two to my vacation pictures – Mark and the girls drove home after our time in the Maggies, and I stayed behind to photograph a special wedding with Rachel in PEI. That turned into sometime that I explored PEI and Nova Scotia – a treat to end the trip!

Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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November 7, 2013 Christina and Anne

Recently I’ve been taking some time to photograph some amazing families who have recently adopted. I love adoption so much – I wanted to take some time to celebrate it! Adoption looks so different for each family… recently I had posted about Lexie and Chris… now meet Christina and Anne! Christina recently adopted Anne – and these two are a perfect fit. Anne has the biggest smile ever… only surpassed by her mom’s. This is one happy household. To know that Anne is in a loving, caring home because someone like Christina said “yes”… love. Such an incredible family.

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Christina was telling me how the Disney movie “Tarzan” is such a beautiful story of adoption. And how in it the momma Gorilla and her adopted son Tarzan put their hands up to each other – ANne loves doing this too!

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When Christina found out she was maybe going to have a daughter – she bought this doll and prayed for Anne with it.

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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November 4, 2013 Goodyear Family

This weekend we had the opportunity to go visit some very special friends of ours. Pernell and Margie have been some of our best friends for about twenty years. Many moons ago Margie and I were roommates and we were thrilled when our guys soon became best friends too. We have vacationed with each other, gotten to know each other’s extended families, stood in each other’s wedding parties and welcomed each other’s babies. If you have spent more than 5 minutes with Pernell you likely have laughed until you almost wet yourself. He’s hilarious and has no boundaries to his humour – but also an incredible depth and way of inspiring others. Margie is the most generous person I’ve met. She always is baking or making something for someone. She has a vegetable garden behind their home fence where there is a public path to the park with a sign for people to help themselves. That is something so Margie. She gives and gives… and then gives some more. It’s such an honour to call these amazing people friends.

This past week, we also received news that Pernell had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Hearing the “c” word is never easy. Fortunately testicular cancer is one of the most treatable kinds of cancer – and we are so thankful for good medical care for our friend.

This month as most of you know is also known as Mo’Vember. Men around the world grow facial hair in an effort to raise awareness and funds to “change the face of men’s health”. My dad has beat prostate cancer… and I’m convinced Pernell will beat his cancer too. If you would like to donate to my husband’s Mo’Vember fundraising page you can do so here: LINK.

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And my kids were bound and determined to be a part of the family photos!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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November 1, 2013 Chis, Arlene & Girls

I love photographing families through their stages of life – it has been so fun to watch Chris and Arlene’s family grow from their wedding, newborn daughter Evelyn, toddler Evelyn, new daughter Rowena, and now to see them again after some time out in Halifax in their gorgeous new home in London. The girls are two and four now – quite possibly one of my favourite stages of childhood! It was a great time of seeing the girls personalities shine through and the obvious love this little family shares!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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One thing I love about being a Smiling Eyes photographer, is we also donate time to Ronald McDonald House and Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. This last week I had the honour of going and documenting three families in Toronto.

First was a beautiful little girl who has just recently had a bone marrow transplant. SHe is 10 months old and has this beautiful slow smile that melts your heart! Her big sister is only 15months older than her – this family has their hands full! But lots of cuddles and love helps!

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Next up was a stunning 18 year old girl who was celebrating her 3 week anniversary of her new lung that day! It is so amazing what can be done now with transplants! Her mom and her are so close – really beautiful to watch them together!

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Next up was two three month old twins – they’re fraternal brotehrs but man! they look alike! One has a heart condition and is weaker – but still able to smile and coo and charm us all!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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October 29, 2013 Brad and Staci

Brad and Staci had a beautiful day for their Vineyard wedding at Legends Winery. The sun was shining and it was such a fun celebration!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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October 28, 2013 Chris and Lexie

Six years ago I met Chris and Lexie. I instantly liked them. They are so great together – and so fun! I met them on their 6th year anniversary of dating… and now it’s almost 12years! And 5 years married – craziness! HEre’s the LINK to their engagement photos – because Lexie is sentimental…. she wore the exact same sweater!

This last year has been so exciting for Chris and Lexie as they fulfilled a dream of theirs… to become parents! It was a dream that seemed illusive for years… but I was thrilled when they shared with me their plans to adopt. If you meet this couple – you know that they were made to be parents. JJ came into their life right from the very beginning – and there is no doubt that this is where she is suppose to be! This little family is so full of love – it’s infectious. I loved documenting their family – because I love this couple, because I love documenting families and because I think adoption is one of the most insanely beautiful things in the world.

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And I always think it’s important to get some of mom and dad together too!

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And we ended with one of Lexie’s favourite things… owls!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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October 28, 2013 Desi’s Smiling Eyes

When I walk in to a child’s portrait session I usually put down the camera and let them get use to me before we begin. Desi was sitting down on the couch quietly, but before long this adorable 5 year old was telling me stories and drawing pictures of his favourite Marvel characters and making funny faces… and being a kid. He had me laughing and loving his little face in minutes!

When you’re with him it’s easy to forget that he has T-Cell ALL (Leukemia). And that’s how it should be… Desi is a little boy and his cancer doesn’t define him. Love that!

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Celebrating life and love,

Krista

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