In Category: ‘Smiling Eyes’

August 21, 2013 Featured Photographer

It was such an honour to be August’s featured photographer for Smiling Eyes!

Read my interview here and see a few of my favourite images….


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Celebrating life and love,


3582 10151582235626558 795692536 n 300x300 Chases Smiling Eyes  As I mentioned recently and you may know, I am a member of Smiling Eyes This is a group of photographers that donate photo sessions to people journeying through cancer. This past week I was honoured to photograph not just one amazing family – but two! I recently blogged about Caydance… not meet 7 year old Chase!

When I met Chase the first thing I noticed was his awesome freckles! I’ve always been envious of freckles. But within seconds the freckles are long forgotten because this high energy, fast talking little man has your full attention as he talks about dogs, boats, or about anything that pops into his head. I loved hearing all that was going through his mind! Such a sweet guy!

Chase’s journey with cancer may have claimed his kidney – but not his love of life and spunk!






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I’ve mentioned bravery beads before and how much I love them! SUch a great visual reminder of each child’s unique health journey. Chase showed me some of his favourites before dancing with them! icon smile Chases Smiling Eyes

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Celebrating life and love,



3582 10151582235626558 795692536 n 300x300 Caydances Smiling Eyes  As you may know, I am a member of Smiling Eyes – a group of photographers that donate photo sessions to people journeying through cancer. Over the years, this has fast become one of my favourite things to photograph. It is always a good reminder how precious life is – and the ones we love. 


This past Saturday I had the opportunity to meet little Caydance and her family. Today is a special day in their family’s life… Caydance is having her last chemo today! Hooray! What a day to celebrate! You will also be seeing a lot more of Caydance if you are in the Hamilton area as she is the new face of McMaster Children’s hospitals ads. Exciting! Caydance’s family decided they couldn’t control their circumstances – her sickness, treatment, etc. are all out of their hands – so doing something like fundraising was one way to keep their minds focused and concentrate on something they can control. Their family has raised around $80,000 so far for Mac – wow!! So amazing!


But let’s meet this little one….




This is Caydance – and her big sister Raya and little sister Quinn. All three are just adorable!


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And here’s the whole gang! Such a great family!

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Families sometimes need to stop… and pinky promise to behave for a photo shoot. icon smile Caydances Smiling Eyes

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Bravery beads are about the best things ever… every time a child has something done – a needle, surgery, hospital admission, etc. – they are given a bead. This is a visual of the child’s story – unique to just them. It also costs the hospital about $10,000 a year – and Caydance’s family is now fundraising for this great program! Here are the girls inspecting the beads….

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I love that Caydance put her sister’s names into her beads. They too are part of this journey!

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And here’s her wish trip she’s waiting on! Soon Caydance!!

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Such a beautiful family!

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The photo on the right is so sweet… tehy do this cheer where they all put their hands in and yell their family’s last name. Just like you would in a sporting game. So fun!

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A little Abbey Road happening….

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Celebrating life and love… and the end of chemo!


April 12, 2013 Shawn and Lucille

One of my favourite things to photograph is Smiling Eyes sessions. Smiling Eyes sessions are free gifts of photography to families and individuals journeying through cancer. I have met such fantastic people over the last several years volunteering through Smiling Eyes. Last weekend was another instance of some amazing people and examples of strength. Lucille married her long time love, Shawn surrounded by their children and loved ones. Lucille was a stunning bride – you would never know by looking at her she is battling cancer. Again. It really is beautiful to watch the love and support of family and friends. Lucille is one loved lady!

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This cutie caught my eye!

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Ceremony time!

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After the ceremony was over Lucille said “I want to hug everyone!” So sweet.

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Lucille said she wanted this particular restaurant for the wedding because of this large amethyst – so beautiful!

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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….

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Celebrating life and love,


October 19, 2011 Baby Pierce

I have known Julie since she was a teenager working after school at the store I worked in at the time. Over the last couple years it has been so fun to reconnect with her and see her transform to fiancee to wife and now to mom!

Pierce is 6 months old and is not only unbelievable cute – but such a well behaved little guy! He just sat there with his eyebrows raised and huge blue eyes sparkling, laughing along with everything. Love this kid!

We photographed at their home – I love baby photo sessions at home. When I think back to when my girls were babies my fondest memories are simple moments at home. Coming in after they wake from a nap to find them smiling and laughing in their crib and SO excited to see me! They both always loved bath time – party in the water! And lots of cuddles. So I was thrilled when this is what Julie had envisioned also for her photo session – documenting their family moments.

The family…

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But before there was Pierce there was Molson. You may remember him from their engagement and wedding photos.

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Molson wasn’t about to let anyone forget him and charged into the photo session. I love dogs!

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Pierce was getting his shirt changed… but I think he kind of liked the no shirt look. icon smile Baby Pierce

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Seriously – this kid is so cute! Look at his face – and how he’s cuddling mom’s face. Too sweet.

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Graeme and Julie just had a gorgeous bar built in the basement – by the look on Pierce’s face I think he’s shocked he’s allowed at the bar.

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I love his whole series in the bedroom – love the natural light here! And this kid is all personality!

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This face!!! Love him.

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Molson trying to see if there’s anything good to read…

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As mentioned one of my favourite memories is coming in after the girls woke from their nap – every day it was as if they were so shocked and thrilled that I came to get them. It was fun to watch Pierce in his crib with a similar expression!

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And bath time!!! (Surprised to see Molson had to check out what’s going on?)

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Graeme and Julie it was so great to see you again – and congratulations on Pierce. You are obviously doing a great job parenting as this is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever met!

Celebrating life and love,


October 11, 2011 Tamara’s Smiling Eyes

One of my favourite things to photograph are Smiling Eyes sessions. These sessions are a free gift for anyone journeying through cancer. Obviously, I wish there were no Smiling Eyes sessions at all… I hate cancer as much as the next person… but until the day we can say “good riddance” to it, I love to be able to offer these as a very small gift from me for those who fight the big “C” word.

At first, I thought about not telling you Tamara is battling cancer right now. This session could pass as an engagement session the way these two laugh and beam at each other… but at the same time we need to be aware that cancer comes in all forms. Even to healthy, young, beautiful women like Tamara. And she is so beautiful. With her twinkling eyes and easy laugh. It was so great to meet her and her husband Casey when they came out to my house last weekend for their session.

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Tamara and Casey it was so great to meet you both! And your dog – who could be a model!

Celebrating life and love,


August 27, 2011 Jacob’s Smiling Eyes

One of my favourite parts of being a photographer, is being able to offer a gift to people who’ve had a bumpy journey and need to pause… and celebrate their love and live today. I was thrilled to meet with little Jacob and his family this week. Jacob is only three but has already gone through so much. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor around a year and a half (and hearing their story I give a huge shout out to his mom for being so observant and noticing the signs and asking questions!). It turns out that my good friend Cherie (who I have mentioned as riding bike across Canada for cancer) was one of Jacob’s nurses at Sick Kids – small world!

Here is Jacob, big brother Tristan and his family’s smiling eyes! Enjoy!

Jacob and those big brown eyes melts your heart!

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Mike and Julie – you were awesome to meet! Enjoyed connecting!

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Celebrating life and love,


One of my favourite photos sessions are the Smiling Eyes ones… a chance to give back, but more often I’m the one who receives. I loved meeting Krisha and her boys for her Smiling Eyes session this past weekend. As she faces cancer for the second time, and enters chemo – I’m thankful to see she has three great guys to support and love her!

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Beautiful Mama… didn’t notice this at first! But such fitting words!

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I love a family that can laugh together!

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I love how Krisha looks like she is just soaking in all of her family’s love in this image.

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Joseph and Krisha told me about how they met and how they’ve been married ten years now… I never get tired of hearing couple’s stories and watching them interact as they tell it!

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(Krisha your hand on his face there… melts my heart)

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This set cracks me up… such a typical family moment. Mom and dad having this sweet, intimate moment. Two seconds later interrupted by the ragamuffins!

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Xavier was so funny – everytime Joseph and Krisha kissed he would holler “no more! No more kisses!!!” It was hilarious!

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And we found this gorgeous little pocket of beauty in the midst of downtown Burlington…. a tad magical I think.

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I love smooshed face mom kisses!

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Krisha – you are gorgeous – inside and out! It was an honour to document your family!

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Celebrating life and love,


As I have blogged before, I am honoured to shoot for “Smiling Eyes” – an organization where photographers donate time to families who’s lives have been touched by cancer. Another part of Smiling Eyes is having the opportunity to photograph families at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Toronto. I love, love, love doing this!

On Saturday, I went to the RMH and met up with the lovely Melissa. Melissa is amazing – she is a child life specialist (did I get the title right, Melissa?) and does an incredible job of making sure the children who come into RMH lives are made richer, happier, and to help with some of the confusion and fears they may have. You can tell how much the kids (and parents) all adore Melissa.

This time when I got home and looked through the images, what stuck out for me was the parents. These moms and dads are doing such amazing jobs with keeping their children feeling loved, safe and happy.

The first family I met with lives in Ireland currently but are from South Africa. They came to Toronto last week with their son William. William turns one this coming Wednesday – happy birthday!! On Monday, due to eye cancer, William is having one eye removed. I was so thankful for the timing of this photo shoot to give William’s family photos before his surgery. He is such a happy little guy – with mischief just waiting to come out – you can see it in his face!

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William is so cute! And he knows he is cute too.

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This series cracks me up. He looks so innocent – until mom comes within reach.

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We then went outside to the parking lot. Again, I’ll say the location is not as important as you may think for a photo shoot. The love and connection is what you see in images. You can find a neutral background anywhere!

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Kids always let you know when they’re done – bye bye!

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Then I met with this sweet family from Nunavut. They are here with their sister who is in Sick Kids With two young active boys – they kept me on my toes. Definitely would need distractions!

First… play-dough!

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Then… puppet show!

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But this was the best… watch their expressions change in the next two. Can you guess what made the change?

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Silly String!!

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Melissa pulled out Silly String and they loved it!

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Then I showed them they had a “twin” in the window….

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ANd more silliness with Melissa!

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Such a sweet family!

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I can not imagine what it must be like for these boys coming from Nunavut where mom was saying there is still snow and they’re use to being outside all day long – to being downtown Toronto! The stories they’ll have for the folks back home!

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Then I went on to meet baby Harm. His mom went to the hospital at 27 weeks not feeling well… and next thing she knows, she is rushed to Mount SInai hospital and has a two pound preemie baby! Harm is doing awesome and is heading home this week hopefully! It was also funny as we talked, to discover we live in the same neck of the woods and Cassandra (Harm’s mom) knows all my neighbours (one was even her bridesmaid) and has even been over to my barn before. Small world!

When I got there, dad was just sitting admiring him. Mom is up at the ROnald McDOnald House all the time (11 weeks so far I think she said) while dad comes up on weekends. SO I’m sure he’s eager to hold his little guy as much as he can!

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I love when babies stretch and curl up like this!

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This is one loved little baby!

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Totally smiling.

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Why do you think “Mr. Muscles” is crying?

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He wanted to flex his muscles of course!!

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This was also my first time having to wear a gown and gloves as Harm is currently in isolation. Interesting to shoot this way!

I remember spending hours doing this – heck! I still love to watch my girls lie there! Look at Harm’s face… “are they still there?”

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Such a sweetheart!

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The last visit was to SIck Kids hospital to see little Kenna. She is two years old and is such a sweetheart! SHe is from Rainy River area – where I have family as well. Nestor Falls up near Rainy River is where my grandparents lived and is still probably my favourite place anywhere. Kenna and her mom have just arrived recently and getting settled. Kenna was so proud of her necklace and bracelet she had made!

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Isn’t she so sweet!

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I just loved how mom and Kenna interacted together. You can tell Kenna loves her mommy!

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And what kid doesn’t love being read to?

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As I looked through the images what caught my eye was the kids just wanting to hold on to mom and dad. For these young ones to face so much is hard to imagine. But if they had to do it without mom and dad’s presence is unthinkable. I am so thankful for Ronald McDonald House being there so mom and dads can be there to hold a hand and offer a cuddle.
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Celebrating life and love,