Hanging on to summer

What a summer we’ve had!  I realize it’s now officially “Fall” but I wanted to share another session from earlier this year.

It’s Friday, so this one is short on words, but big on energy.

… this adorable family and all the energy of young boys.  And love.











p.s. If you love the taste of summer (as in, the taste of beer), Bruce is the one in charge of brewing at an amazing craft beer place in Stratford – Black Swan Brewing.  Check them out on Downie Street the next time you’re there, or find out if your favourite local bar serves any of their offerings.  Black Swan_0001

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Back to school

To all the kids out there heading back to school – homeschool, new school, new classes, new teachers, new friends…Back to school_0002

To all the kids out there starting school in a different city, different province, different country… Back to school_0001

To all the teachers out there heading back to school – new kids, new grade, new school, new job…Back to school_0003

To all the parents out there sending their children to school for the first time, the last time, the only time, the far away time…Back to school_0004

… blessings to you all in the year ahead.

I’m honoured to be part of your journey.

~ Thank you ~

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Celebrate Mom – A Benefit Event

Will you help me?

Yesterday I hinted at something to help moms “Get in the picture.”  Here’s the quick reveal:  Mother’s Day portraits, Mini-Sessions benefiting the work of Mennonite Central Committee.

(Full disclosure:  If you follow me on Facebook, you already know about this event.  BUT read on to hear the rest of the story about why I’m doing this.)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is an organization dedicated to “relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.”  They have long been near and dear to my heart. (The short version: Without them, my grandparents might have starved to death in Russia.)

They do countless wonderful things – just take a moment (or several) and look through their website. (Canada and USA)  The piece that our family has been regularly involved in is their various “Kits” – collecting donations for them, packing them, and hearing where they are heading.

Right now MCC has several urgent needs, including hygiene kits.  It’s a simple thing, really – a towel, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a nail clipper and a bar of soap, all gathered together in a draw-string bag.  What a difference it makes for someone fleeing war or natural disasters when they have some of their basic needs met.  What mom doesn’t want to see her family healthy?

I want to help mothers and their families around the world in these crisis situations, just like someone helped my Grandmothers and their families all those years ago as they were fleeing war and famine.

Will you help too?

I am running a Benefit Event on Saturday, April 18 to raise funds for hygiene kits.  Have your picture taken with your mom, or with the mom of your kids, or as a mom with your kids, or as three generations (or more!) of moms.  Mom needs to be in the picture (see my post yesterday for more of my thoughts on that.)  The mini-sessions will take place indoors at the MCC offices in Kitchener.

Did I mention this could make an excellent Mother’s Day gift?  (hint hint)

The $100 session fee goes directly to MCC.  You will receive a tax receipt for $50 (and if you want to donate more, the receipt will be for $50 less than your total amount).  MCC gets the entire amount.  MCC Ontario Executive Director, Rick Cober Bauman, confirmed for me that monetary donations actually go further toward obtaining kit supplies than the same amount spent at a store.  That’s why I’m collecting dollars rather than supplies.

My goal is $1600.

More details on the April 18 event are below.  Contact me to book your session time, and with any questions about the event.

Thank you for celebrating mom!

If you feel inspired to make a donation directly to MCC for hygiene kits (or any aspect of their work) without being part of this portrait event, blessings to you too.  Contact information for MCC Ontario (and others regions, including USA) can be found through here, including a “donate now” button.  Optional:  you can send me a little note as well, letting me know you’ve celebrated in this way (no need to include any amount-details).  Blessings to everyone who celebrates mom, no matter what form it takes.

Celebrating Mom Blog Poster

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Get in the picture

Most of us mom-types don’t want to be in front of the camera.  Some of us actively avoid the front-side of that lens as often as possible.  Why?  There’s a host of reasons – bad hair day, the wrong outfit, that extra few pounds we’re going to lose next month.

So we avoid being in the picture.

And yet, our kids belong to what’s being called “the most photographed generation in history.”  Photographs that stay on our phones and on our computers, never to be seen again.

Put these two statements together and what do you get?  A generation of kids who don’t have any pictures of their mothers, or perhaps more importantly, with their mothers.

When I look back through photo-albums of my childhood (aside:  this same generation of  kids don’t really have tangible, hold-in-your-lap photo albums to look at either) and I find a picture of me with my mom, what do I see?

I see Mom.

Sure, I might mock the crazy clothing trends of the time, or poke fun at the size of the sun-glasses “back then,” or the bizarre combination of stripes and plaid I happened to be wearing when I “dressed myself.”  I might laugh at the picture, but the laughter comes from a place of love.  I’m so glad I have that picture.  Like the one of us around the campfire, roasting marshmallows… the one Dad captured, where Mom is in the middle of reminding my youngest brother to ‘blow out’ rather than ‘madly wave around’ the flaming marshmallow at the end of his I-found-it-myself-in-the-woods roasting stick.  A perfect mothering moment?  Thinking back to similar moments of flaming-sticky-sugar-panic I’ve had with my own kids… probably not.  But that’s not what I see.  I see our family together.  I remember the campground, the vacation, and the good times and memories of my childhood.  Yes, we all have 80s hair (another thing to laugh about), and because it was a summer camping trip we probably hadn’t showered all that recently (you know what I’m talking about).  But that’s not what I see.

I look at that picture and I see us with Mom, together, and I remember having a great time.

So to all us Moms out there, I have a challenge:

1. Get in the picture.  Regularly.  Often.  (Selfies totally count.)

2. Print those pictures.

Tuck them in a little album and leave them lying around the house where your kids can pick them up and look through them.  They won’t care what you look like.  They’ll just remember having that crazy-face-contest with you and laughing until their sides ached.

I’m as guilty of forgetting to do this as any of us.  Case in point?  I had to scroll back through through 2 months of pictures on my phone before I could find one with me in it.  But it was a great day skiing together with my girls!


And one of me and my amazing mom.  Just because.

If you want more than selfies, stay-tuned tomorrow for more info on a Benefit Event I’m hosting to celebrate moms here and around the world.

Now go and get in the picture!


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A walk in the woods

Fall seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

The warm sun, the cool breezes, the breath-taking colours that hung around for so many wonderful weeks… it was a glorious fall.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve really enjoyed this winter.  The snow, the dazzling sunshine and the clearest, bluest skies of the entire year.  Winter has been everything it promised to be.  But somehow when it comes to the end of one season I am fully ready for the next, and I look forward with anticipation to the changes that will come.

Today, while we wait on the ragged edge of a dying winter, I want to take you back for a moment to that splash of colour.

… and an adorable family.BechtelPark-01BechtelPark-02


Aren’t they adorable?!?BechtelPark-06 BechtelPark-07 BechtelPark-08

And they also love to laugh together.  A family session isn’t complete without a healthy dose of laughter.BechtelPark-10 BechtelPark-09

… and a few giggles.BechtelPark-11 BechtelPark-12

BechtelPark-13 BechtelPark-14 Seriously… can you get any more adorable than this little guy?  I’m melting.BechtelPark-15 BechtelPark-16

There is always time for Mom & Dad.

Just Mom & Dad.  BechtelPark-17 BechtelPark-18 BechtelPark-19 BechtelPark-20

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A walk along the Mill Race

When I first moved to the Waterloo area I had *no* idea what a “mill race” was.

An event? Like where you run? Past a mill? I’m not a big fan of running…

A kindly friend enlightened me (after he’d stopped laughing) with a patient, “No, silly…” and explained how it’s a channel dug (often) by hand to divert some of the water from a river so it turns the big wheel at the mill before flowing back into the river. Taa daaaa… power!

Wow. That is cool. Who knew? (clearly not me, but I do now)

The Mill Race trail in St. Jacobs is 2km long – at one end is a picturesque little waterfall and picnic area, and at the other is the Ice Cream Caboose. And the mill. But for my kids, the Ice Cream Caboose is way more important.

When a friend of mine told me she wanted to gift her sister-in-law with a portrait session at the Mill Race, I was delighted. We started at the dam on a beautiful spring day, and alas we didn’t make it all the way into St. Jacobs for ice cream, but we still had a wonderful time together.

MillRace_02MillRace_03The little man wasn’t too sure about the whole thing until his buddy appeared.

Cooper-bear to the rescue!!

MillRace_05 MillRace_06The other wonderful part of this session?  There’s a new little one arriving in the family!  So we took a few moments to capture some beautiful mama-glow.

MillRace_08 MillRace_09A woman carrying new life is one of the most beautiful sights.

There was time for cuddles and stories…

MillRace_12 MillRace_13… and some air-time with Dad.  (Can’t you just hear his squeals of delight?!)

When we (that is, Cooper-bear and his buddy) had checked out all the interesting features of the area, it was time to find something new.

MillRace_01 MillRAce_16 MillRace_17The trail was definitely worth exploring.

MillRace_19 MillRace_20A dandelion… the ultimate gift to melt Mom’s heart.  So.sweet.

MillRace_22Happy fall, little guy.  I hope this new season sees you grow more and more, especially in your new role as Big Brother.




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Phil & Jules – Cranial Waves

Here’s another session from last fall.  The day was grey and misty… kinda how I always imagine Narnia to be when Aslan first calls it into existence.

One would think, given the grey and dreary-looking skies, that the rest of the world would be dreary-looking as well.  I’m delighted to report that this was entirely not the case. Indeed, the fall colours seemed to glow!  It was breath-taking.

And when your clients have personalities as vibrant as the glowing trees?  Well… it doesn’t get much better.

Meet Phil & Jules and their family.Cranial Waves_0000Cranial Waves_0004Cranial Waves_0002Cranial Waves_0003

We met up at the Huron Natural Area in Kitchener.  It’s a fantastic place to visit, walk, explore, wonder and marvel.  I had the honour of being there with my camera to capture some of all of that.

Cranial Waves_0005 Cranial Waves_0006 Cranial Waves_0010

That moment when you get photo-bombed by your dog…  Love it.Cranial Waves_0001

Huron Natural Area is huge.  We only covered a very small portion of it on this visit.  There are so many different walking trails to choose from that you could easily spend a day wandering around, taking it all in.  The ‘bamboo forest’ was our destination, because bamboo is soooo interesting!

Cranial Waves_0007 Cranial Waves_0009 Cranial Waves_0008

When it was time for something new to investigate we wandered some more, stopping here and there whenever any of us noticed something else interesting, or fun…

… like a giant sand pileCranial Waves_0012

… or a big row of rocks that are just perfect to jump from.Cranial Waves_0011

If you’re clients of either Phil or Jules you might recognize the above photo.  If you’re not clients, you might want to be!  (Full disclosure… I have been for years, and can’t say enough about how wonderful they are.)  They own and operate Cranial Waves, a family-based clinic in the charming little town of Baden. The therapies and services they offer are many. A visit to their website will tell you so much.  Phil is currently accepting new clients, so head on over and check them out!

When the kids grew tired from walking, they went for a drive in the stroller.  And by ‘drive’ I do mean drive.   Sweet little miss has figured out how to throw her weight around enough to steer.  For real.Cranial Waves_0014

There’s always time for some pictures of just Mom & Dad.  Always.  I dare you to look at these two and not catch yourself smiling.Cranial Waves_0016 Cranial Waves_0015Cranial Waves_0022 Cranial Waves_0017 Cranial Waves_0021

Just when I thought we were nearly done, Jules runs to the car and comes back with their longboards.  How much fun is this?!Cranial Waves_0020Cranial Waves_0019

And cap the evening off with a cuddle and some lovin’.Cranial Waves_0013

Thanks, Phil & Jules, for a fantastic evening together! You two and your amazing kids are awesome.  My cheek muscles still ache from so much laughter.

(… for real, go check out their website…)  🙂

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