May 24, 2014 Wielink Family

Being a photographer has many perks – but one of the best benefits is the people I meet. A few years back through photographer meetings I had the benefit of meeting Nataschia. We quickly became friends. In some ways we are so alike that our husbands have asked if we are related, and we sometimes get asked if we are sisters. I always answer “yes”. We have gone on photography adventures near and far and have so many fun memories together.

To say I love this girl is an understatement.

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Today – I want to introduce you to Nataschia’s family. It’s hard to believe these are her children and not siblings. My kids just saw this photo and asked “which one is the parents?”

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Mike and Nataschia are high school sweethearts. Married young and are a great example to many.

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Nataschia’s photography tag line is “for people madly in love.” And I have to say – they’re setting a solid example for her wedding clients. And their children. And me.

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Celebrating life and love,


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May 24, 2014 Greg and Libby

It is always so exciting to see parents-to-be anticipating their new arrival. Especially first time parents. The moment the little one arrives everything changes. Suddenly you become mom and dad. A person exists that you have the honour of shaping and guiding – and watching who they become. And the days leading up to the miracle are also exciting as we wonder who this child will be, who they’ll look like, what personality traits they’ll have and who they will become. I remember them as days full of dreams – dreaming who my child would be, who they would become and what life would be like. So when it came time to do Greg and Libby’s maternity photos… this dreamy orchard location was the perfect choice for this time of dreaming as they anticipate their little one’s arrival.

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And we visited not one – but two orchards. The above orchard with the pink blossoms, and then the white blossoms (and dandelions!) below! I love Spring in southern Ontario!

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Celebrating life and love,


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Today is Mother’s Day – a day of celebrating for many, but also a day that is hard for so many. Memories of moms that had to say goodbye too early. Moms who weren’t the Hallmark idea of a mother and now there is hurt and pain mingled in with the memories. Women who long to be a mother and yet their bodies and circumstances won’t allow it. Women who have yet to find love, and are reminded of that fact again today. Women who are now single mothers – learning to parent alone.

Today is Mother’s Day – and I like to think of it as a day to celebrate the women who have been an inspiration or influence in our lives.

The aunts who spoil their nieces and nephews with memories while gifting the parents with a much needed break.
The birth mom, who selflessly carried her child and gave them the gift of life and love in a new adoptive family.
The girlfriends who have supported and loved as they watch their friend go through divorce, disease or other such challenges.
The moms who have intentionally loved their children and their families through big and small acts of love daily.
The sisters, friends, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, cousins, and other women in our lives who have carried us emotionally and supported us practically and inspired us to be our best….

This day is for you.

And we say thank you! We celebrate you!

Celebrating life and love,


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May 6, 2014 Laura’s kids

Leading up to Mother’s Day is a great time to think about the amazing women who we call mom. Here is one such woman – meet Laura. Laura is mom to four little ones – the oldest is only four and they are all just a year apart. To say her hands is full is an understatement! She may be busy but she is full of laughter and cuddles for those little ones! It’s so much fun to watch this family of five interact together!

Meet the beautiful Laura…

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And her incredible munchkins. First is Jack and his beloved stuffed rabbit Ping.

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Then there is Beth who was so proud to so me her Spiderman stickers when we met!

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Then there is little Jolene with those little pigtails and her kitty cat.

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And last is Andy who is so in love with his mom and loves nothing better than her cuddles.

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The kids were SO good but when the meltdowns start… it’s time to go!

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Celebrating life and love,


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cover zpsc3ac1b13 GOLDEN: Leonard and Helen

[The GOLDEN project can be read about HERE. I will be photographing couples married 50+ years, hearing their stories and sharing their wisdom. Have someone you think I should document for this? Drop me a line at: with the subject "GOLDEN"]

I didn’t plan to document Leonard and Helen, but while photographing their grandson’s wedding I met them and just fell in love with them! During the reception, I asked if I could sit down with them just for a couple of minutes and chat about their love story over the last 58 years. So this one is a bit different than the other GOLDEN posts as it is not at their home – but at a wedding.

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Leonard moved to Canada from Ireland when he was 17 when his dad was hired to work on the Avro Arrow. When he had been in Canada only 3 days, he met Helen’s father at church. Having also been Irish immigrants, the families had a bond. Her dad invited Leonard’s family over after church. Leonard said he went downstairs to watch television – he didn’t have a TV so this was exciting. When he went down Helen and her three sisters were sitting on a couch. I asked why he singled out Helen. He said very matter-of-factly “she was a redhead.”

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Since we were at a beautiful wedding while chatting, I asked them if their wedding was similar. They laughed. They said they think it cost $1.25/plate at that time for their Toronto wedding.

When I asked them what advice they would give to their grandson or “secrets” to staying together happily so long they had some good insight. They said there is a lot of ups and downs in life and you just have to learn to weather them together. They thought that is where the breakups happen when hard times come and they don’t handle the tough times together. Helen said that things will always get better. It’s never “always” bad. These two have known their share of hard times, having lost a daughter ten years prior who had a lifetime of health concerns. They both agreed that sickness cane make or break a couple. Leonard and Helen both also thought that having Faith is important and helped get them through a lot of their tough times.

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Leonard and Helen both had parents that were married right to the end and that example of sticking together made an impact on them. Life wasn’t easy as immigrants – but their parents were committed to each other and their example was helpful for their children’s marriages also.

I love sitting and chatting with these two – but since it was their grandson’s wedding didn’t want to keep them long. Before I left for the evening I was able to capture a few images of them on the dance floor enjoying each other’s company. When I left – they were still up dancing!

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Celebrating life and love,


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March 30, 2014 Baby Penelope

It has been such an honour to document this growing family – and here they grow again! Recently, I was able to document the home birth of little Penelope. It was just a year and a half before that I was able to document her brother Desmond’s home birth also. Now this family of five has three kids three and under!

Again it was an beautiful experience… through each contraction Sarah would hold on to Kris, and then as it passed she’d hug him, tell him she loves him, prayed, and was incredible. It was so beautiful to watch this miracle and an honour to be a part of it again.

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Sarah’s mom was a big help watching Bella and Desmond but they came in for a quick visit and Sarah was great with them even during the contractions.

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Time to move to the tub and soon welcome little Penelope!

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Desmond woke up and was able to meet his new little sister – he was so excited!

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Grandma with her newest granddaughter….

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Celebrating life and love,


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March 18, 2014 Baby Theo

Right before I went to Kenya last week I was able to sneak in one more newborn session with baby Theo. He had arrived early much to his parents surprise – but they are all so smitten and happy with his arrival! It was fun visiting them in their Toronto condo and documenting their new life of as a family of three!

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Celebrating life and love,


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March 3, 2014 Aaron and Becky

I have known Becky and her family for many years – so it was a real honour to document her wedding last weekend. To see her move from the young girl I knew years ago to a radiant bride today. It was a day of laughter and celebrating as Aaron and Becky made their “ultimate promise” (loved that wording from their invitation). After a winter of snow, snow and more snow – the day before the wedding it RAINED. But fortunately on the day of the wedding there was still some snow for images – but it had warmed up. Perfect!

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Aaron and his gorgeous daughter – hard to believe she’s only 12!!

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Meanwhile over at the ladies there was lots of laughs!

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Always love when dad sees his daughter as a bride for the first time!

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Becky’s dad is always joking around – loved his reaction to get his boutonniere on! ha ha.

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Love this image of Jackie (mother of the bride) and Melissa (Maid of honour) rushing in to get this party started!

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Celebrating life and love,


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February 22, 2014 GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

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I have been trying for several weeks to get together with Dick and Nancy as part of this Golden Project – but each time we go to meet one of us are sick or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Finally Friday everything was set to meet! I arrived at their condo where I was to meet their granddaughter – and checked my messages. There was a message saying Dick wasn’t feeling well and not up to it. Oh no! But then the next message was – if you’ve already left, let’s go ahead anyways! And so we did. I didn’t expect Dick to talk much, but right from the string, firm handshake when I arrived he had this twinkle in his eye. He corrected Nancy’s story and laughed along with us. And at the end they thanked us for a fun morning down memory lane. I’m so glad we went ahead!

Dick and Nancy’s story starts during World War ll. Nancy is from the town of Irvine, Scotland. Dick was a Canadian soldier. Nancy and her girlfriends were crossing over a bridge one day in the fall of 1943, when some soldiers crossed and were making rude comments to the girls. The girls kept walking and saw another group of soldiers – Nancy was dreading passing them also. Then she noticed they were Canadian! One of them was Dick, and he said to his friends “let’s stop these girls.”

I asked Dick why he wanted to stop the girls. “Just wanted to pick up a girl” came his quick response.

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Nancy had a hat with a veil over her face that day. As they went for a drink, she asked him “How come you asked me when you couldn’t see my face?”

Dick’s honest response was, “I seen your legs.”

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They saw each other for 6 weeks before Dick had to go back to war.

(Here Nancy is showing me where she and Dick met for the first time)

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They wrote back and forth for the next year until one day Nancy got the telegram no one ever wants to receive.

Dick had been wounded and was not expected to live.

Nancy’s parents would not let her go to him in the hospital. He spent 3 months in the hospital and it was 6 months before Nancy could see him again. His first leave after the hospital, Dick and Nancy got engaged. They inscribed the date of the engagement on her ring – she did not want it to be for the real date of November 13, 1944 as 13 is unlucky… so they chose two days before which was a day of celebrating around the world as it was the day the war ended. November 11, 1944!

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They were married in Scotland in 1945. Dick’s family had never met Nancy – but he said his mother was “pretty pleased” because he was one of four boys and she always wanted a girl. When I asked them about their wedding they both started to laugh.

Dick says while laughing, “Never a wedding like ours in a million years.”

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Nancy had to continually keep changing the date of the wedding as she was trying to coordinate it with both Dick and her brother getting a leave from the war to come. Dick jokes that she was more concerned her brother got to the wedding than if he did! Finally the day was set.

Because everything was rationed during the war, it was challenging planning a wedding. Nancy had ordered some steak for the wedding – but then realized without an icebox and not certain that Dick could in fact make it – she had to cancel the order again. When he did in fact come on the wedding day – she went to town in her curlers (on her wedding day!!) to find food for the celebration. She had some coupons for candy. And when she ran into an old acquaintance and he asked her what she was doing – she said “I’m getting married today!”. He offered her candy as well. So she had nice fruit and candy at the wedding.

Nancy borrowed her wedding dress – and was actually the third bride to wear it!

They had the wedding in their hime and the neighbours offered baking. There was one taxi and they had to cram everyone into it. The photographer in town was busy so they had the photographer’s apprentice and had two photos taken. Two. As a photographer I gasped when I Heard only two photos taken. But then they showed me the most beautiful, timeless photo. Two was all they needed. icon smile GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

They have it hung in their bedroom and Nancy told me she looks at it every single night before she goes to sleep.

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Dick had 11 day leave before he had to go back to his troop. Then he had to return to Canada without Nancy as the ships were only allowed so many war brides each trip. It was 10 months before Nancy’s turn came to come to Canada.

She talked about the week’s passage across the ocean and how excited she was to see the lights in Halifax. From there it was a train ride to Toronto and then on to Hamilton. It was midnight before she got to Hamilton. She was the last one off the train. nancy told us how she had on a black and white tartan and a white blouse. Her mom had told her to tuck the collar in on the blouse until she got there and then turn it out and it would still look fresh.

I said to Dick that she must have looked good to him after all that time. He got this slow grin across his face. “She sure did.”

IMG 2054 zps548223ca GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

Nancy was quick to say they didn’t have a perfect marriage but that they were committed. You “pick each other up and keep going.” And if you stick with it, you’ll find “a stronger love than you had in the beginning. And a closeness.”

Dick piped up. “Love is something that grows.”

Nancy added “Deeper and stronger as it grows.”

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Then the wisdom just started to flow out. They had so much to offer from their 69 years of experience.

“Be open with each other and be there for each other.”

“Perservere and be committed to each other.”

“Every night we tell each other we love each other. We read our Bibles. And we pray.”

Nancy shared part of a favourite verse that has helped in their marriage… “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other”

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On their 50th and 60th anniversaries Dick and Nancy renewed their vows with friends and family. They had a big celebration – and what a reason to celebrate!

When I asked Nancy her wedding date – she said Ground Hogs Day. With a laugh she adds “he stuck his nose out of the ground, I hit him over the head and said ‘you’re mine!’”

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Nancy has some favourite quotes written out she likes to share with people when writing wedding or anniversary cards – she shared them with me.

“Three kinds of love.
Love that takes
Is the love that breaks.
Love that ties
Is the love that dies.
Love that gives
Is the love that lives.”

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And when I left – I left not only with a happy heart full of stories and love, but also fresh baked banana bread! Yum!

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Throughout the whole time together Nancy kept saying, “We have been so blessed. So blessed.” Wishing them many, many more blessings – and thankful for them blessing us with this gift of their experience and knowledge.

Celebrating life and love,



February 21, 2014 Memories of Quebec

For the last couple of Christmases, we have started a new tradition with our girls. We realized they don’t need more “stuff” and instead wanted to give them a memory. So, the tradition is now that they get one Santa gift and then a memory from mom and dad. This year – we said we’d take them to somewhere I’ve wanted to go to since I was their age… Quebec Carnival! The girls have loved visiting Quebec in the past – but had not been in the winter. And Eden had been asking to go see the ice hotel…. so it was time! We just went this past weekend – we joked it was our “Valentine’s/Family Day/Christmas” weekend. Whatever it was – it was a lot of fun! My girls – Madison (11) and Eden (9) are going to help tell about some favourite parts in the blog below. (Please note these are personal pics – some from our little point and shoot – but wanted to share our little adventure with you all!)

We left on Valentine’s day after school and drove to Montreal. And then Saturday morning finished the trip on to Quebec City. We love doing road trips – the girls and Mark love listening to audio books. I can not seem to get in to them – so while they listen, I read. icon smile Memories of Quebec

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The snow in Quebec was crazy – I thought we had a lot of snow this winter! There was SO much snow! Huge snowbanks and piles of snow everywhere. This image is of a fence that you barely even knew was there!

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And then it was time. We arrived at the Carnival!!

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“My favourite part of my Quebec trip was the carnival. I liked going to the carnival because it is a once in a life time opportunity because it is only held in Quebec once a year. They had amazing opportunities and awesome rides. ” (Madison)

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We tried lots of fun games – one favourite was this one – sort of like curling and lawn darts combined!

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We went up on a big ferris wheel – great view of this section of the carnival!

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We were so impressed by the ice and snow sculptures – we took advantage of the sculpting station and tried to create our own. I think we all gave up before our creations were done – much harder than it looks!!

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One of our favourite things was this human foos ball (spelling?) game. We were all strapped in so we couldn’t move and played a round of human sized table top soccer – so ridiculous and fun! We didn’t get a great picture of it because we were all playing – but here’s a photo from my iphone of it!

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We all loved the tube rides!

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Okay – here’s my dorky moment. (Well, one of many). I’ve always wanted to meet Bonhomme. We saw him – and I literally went running over. And hugged him. There was a big crowd and I’m surprised Mark even got a photo of me. Also surprised that my family did not disown me.

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“One of my favourite things at the carnival was the ice slide they had it was entirely made out of ice! It was an experience I’ll never forget.” (Madison) The ice slide was one of my favourites too! You sat on a sled and whipped down this bumpy course racing against one other person. It just so happened when it was the girls turn to go the marching band had just started up! Fun! And even though it was a long line – no one seemed to notice because they had a couple of heated tents – the first one was handing out chapstick and hand warmers – and the second one was a photo booth! Then you exited the photo booth and it was your turn to go! So fun! You can see the girls on the ice slide in this little instagram video HERE

Then we were waiting for the parade, and saw people ziplining through old Quebec – right over the main street (that was closed off for the carnival). We asked how much – included in the carnival pass!! Sweet! I held our stuff well Mark and the girls zipped over top of me. They were the last ones for the day – hard to get photos as they whip by against the black night sky, in dark colours – but you get the idea!

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“I enjoyed zip-lining. I enjoyed this because of the thrill, it felt like you would fall any second. Also it was really cool because it was dark and snowy.” (Eden)

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Then it was the parade!! I unfortunately didn’t have a wide angle lens on – and it was snowing so hard I wasn’t about to change it outside – so there aren’t a lot of photos of the parade. Let me just say though – it was spectacular! The best parade I’ve seen – and the snow just made it extra magical! Every single person in it gave 150%! It was incredible. And also incredibly cold! We all had to give in and admit defeat – after a full day out in the cold, we had to go warm up. It was hard to pull ourselves away!

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Eden having a hard time leaving – look how snow covered her dark hat is though!

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Another thing we did was go to the Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glace) – wow! I wondered what all there would be to see at a hotel we weren’t staying at. It was beyond amazing. It’s always between -3 and -5 degrees. It is cool but bearable. The sculptures and carvings are breathtaking!

“I also liked the ice hotel with all the cool (ha ha) rooms and the beautiful designs. What surprised me the most was there was a room based on the movie Frozen!” (Eden)

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The chapel at the hotel – stunning!

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An amazing vacation full of great memories!

Celebrating life and love,