First Times, Last Times, and Capturing all of the Memories

After reading the poem that circulated recently, “The Last Time”, I found myself feeling very wistful, yet bitter sweet. My oldest son is six and in grade one this year, and my youngest just started pre-school for the first time this fall. Anyone whose children have reached school age, knows that once a child attends school everyday, they undergo a subtle transformation. Their independence becomes stronger each day, and suddenly their minds are filled with ideas that didn’t come from you.

Already with my growing young boys, so many precious moments have slipped away. Baby cuddles are long over, and so many of our children’s “firsts” have come and passed for our family. It’s only natural feel a bit sad, when without realizing it, these precious moments with our children, have become the last time.

And even though I take many, many pictures, I’m never sure if I’ve captured all of these things to hold onto forever. I hope I’ve done a good job, and I’ll continue to document as many ordinary, everyday moments as I can.

I want to capture every phase they go through, each discovery they make, the games they’ll play for days on end, until suddenly they don’t play that anymore.

And although I feel wistful for the moments that have come and gone already,  there will be so many wonderful moments yet to celebrate.

And through all their developments and changes I must remember that my children still believe in magic, small wonders still amaze them, and it will be a long while yet before they are “too cool” to imagine, play pretend, or get silly. Mommy and Daddy are still their heroes, they are still each other’s best friends, and although we can’t slow down time, all is right with the world.

baby chick in child's hands small wonders small wondersrainy day portraitaction kids portraits action kids portraitsSheepRiver-11 SheepRiver-40

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Fabulous Fall Family Portraits

In order to get everyone inspired to have Family Portraits taken this fall, here a family portrait throwback from last fall, taken by my home Studio near Millarville, AB.

The Varty’s are an awesome family from Millarville. They are close-knit, and very devoted to each other. They are dedicated volunteers, and pillars in our community. But the best part is they were super fun to work with, with their antics, and quirky sense of humour. I really enjoyed our session, and getting to know this family a bit better.

Like many families out there, the Varty’s had never had professional Family Portraits made. They decided it was high time to make the effort, and make the investment (before all of their children are grown up, and leave home;)

And although it was challenging to get everyone scheduled for our session, it was well worth the effort.

Last fall was much warmer, and we didn’t have all of this snow, and unseasonably cold temperatures. In fact, the leaves had only just begun to change colour by the time our session date arrived. But despite the fact that the leaves were still mostly green, we enjoyed the amazing scenery, and captured some wonderful portraits. It was important to really showcase the mountains in the background, which are such a dominating part of our lives here in the Foothills. We wake up to them, we watch the sun set behind them, and they are always part of our view.

Individual kids portraits family kids portraits Sisters Portrait Millarville Family Portrait Millarville Kids Portrait


Besides all the regular poses, we had plenty of time for some fun, candid portraits, as well.


candid Family Portriats


Dorianne, like many mothers, was a bit daunted at first trying to choose clothing for her Family’s session. I think they pulled it off very well, and got it right! They can go right up there with other great examples of “what to wear for your Family’s Portraits.


Mountain view on location family portraits

Once all of this snow melts, I’m looking forward to more fabulous fall Family Portrait sessions.


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Celebrating The Last Year of High School

Here’s a throwback from a few years ago of a High School Seniors session, taken for a family friend.

Lindsay had just finished High School, and these portraits were taken in the late summer, just before she embarked on her new life-College adventures, living away from home for the first time, and the thrill of being a small town girl, going to live in the big city.

I love how these Senior portraits really capture Lindsay at this major turning point in her life. She’s a self-confidant, beautiful young woman, beaming with the radiant optimism of youth, and the true belief that all of her dreams and goals are possible, with some ambition and hard work.

There’s only a hint of shyness, as she contemplates what her future may hold, and the challenges she may have to face.

High School Seniors Portrait


Not much longer a girl in her parent’s home, these lifestyle Portraits capture Lindsay pursuing one of her passions-Art, and drawing.


Lifestyle Teen Portraits


These were taken in her parent’s yard, as she reflects on her many happy memories here.

Casual High School Seniors Portraits High_School_Seniors-4


We then went across the road to Lindsay’s Grandparent’s farm to capture some images at this childhood refuge, and origin of many happy moments.


Teen Portraits


Out in the big open field, as Lindsay contemplates endless possibilities, and dreams.

Teen Portrait in a Wheat Field


I have never understood why, but Senior Portrait Sessions, such as this, have not yet caught on here in Canada. In the United States, High School Senior Sessions are all the rage, with every young person and their family investing in this type of session, to have these fleeting moments documented, at this amazing turning point in their young person’s life.

Here in Canada, the majority of families are content to allow the major corporation Life-Touch, to spend 15 minutes with their Grad, and those are the only Portraits captured of each High School Senior, during this amazing transition in their life.

If you will be Graduating this 2014/15 school year, or if you are the family of a Grad, I’d like to offer you something different. An alternative to mundane, run-of-the-mill Grad Portraits. I’d love the opportunity to capture each Grad as an individual, spending 1-3 hours creating portraits showing who they really are. Up to 2 locations, outfit changes, and personal props to show each High School Seniors’ interests, hobbies, and personality. (Before they leave home, and are out in the big wide world on their own). I hope you’ll give me that opportunity. I know you’ll be glad you did!

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Black Diamond Engagement Session

Here’s a engagement session throwback from a few years ago, which I absolutely love, and have to share!

I met Mila at an Art Show in Turner Valley one August, where she purchased a few greeting cards from me. We started chatting, and we got along instantly. This was easy to do, because Mila is an absolute sweetheart. Mila asked me if I would like to take some natural engagement portraits for her and her fiancee, Clancey, and of course, I agreed.

We met on a beautiful August day, at an acreage near Black Diamond, where they board their horses. Horses are a big part of their life, and they spend many enjoyable times together riding in the Foothills and Kananaskis back country. So portraits with their horses made perfect sense.

We had many beautiful portraits showing their love for each other, for their horses, and for a country way of life.

cowboy engagement portraits Black Diamond Engagement Portraits country engagement session

Toward evening, we went out to some fields near Black Diamond, to get these lovely sunset images.

lifestyle engagement portraits lifestyle engagement portraits, Black Diamond, AB

Mila and Clancey were such fun to work with. I love sharing and capturing these special moments for my clients. The time we spent together developed into a great friendship. In no time at all, Mila and I became good friends. I love how that happens! I’m truly fortunate!

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Welcome to the World! We’re So Glad You’re Here!

It was such an honour to capture these precious Newborn Portraits for this family at their home in Millarville, located southwest of Calgary.

Aside from my own children, this was my first time photographing a Newborn only a few days old. Typically, my previous clients have waited for a month or more to have their baby’s portraits made. It takes some dedication on the parents’ part to make this kind of session happen, while they are adjusting to life with a newborn, but I’m so happy this family made the effort, and I was able to capture some moments that this family can cherish forever.

It would be my pleasure to capture many more Newborn Sessions in the future, as it is such a joy to help a family celebrate these first moments in their child’s life.

Thanks to his Mom, and her true appreciation of photography, I’ll have the privilege of photographing Baby K several more times, chronicling his first year, with lifestyle photography in “Watch Me Grow” photo sessions, with the final product being a keepsake photo album of Baby K’s first year.

Baby K is such a perfect, sleepy baby, who spent most of our session dreaming the sweet dreams of a baby. A curled up bundle of joy!

Millarville Newborn Portraits


Newborn Portraits Close Up 

Sister S, is a proud big sister, as she now will embark on the lifetime of laughter and fun that siblings share. Being a big sister has many rewards, and a few challenges, as when her new brother spit up all over her pretty dress. But big sister S, was a good sport, and she still wore a smile as she posed for these portraits with her baby brother.


Newborn Portraits


It was such an honour to re-create these special images of Baby K with his Dad’s 2006 Olympic Medal! Sister S had her portraits taken with it when she was a newborn, and it was definitely a “must have” image for this family.

Special Newborn Portrait

As is the case with many families, dogs are a part of the family too. It was important to have a family portrait with their dog, who is very old, but fortunately still in this world to welcome the newest member of their family.


Newborn Family Portrait Newborn Family Portrait Mother Baby Newborn Portraits Father Son Newborn Portraits

A big thank you to the family for inviting me into their home to capture all of these beautiful, precious moments. It was truly an honour. I look forward to watching Baby K grow!

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Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Here’s a little throwback from last summer, at about this time, of my two boys. We had recently watched “Dennis the Menace” ( the 1993 Movie starring Mason Gamble, and Walter Mattheu), and I loved how Dennis’s wagon was filled with all of his “little boy” stuff. I don’t usually go overboard on props, but I thought this would be a fun theme, to base a mini children’s photo-shoot on.

To recreate the wagon, I used our vintage Radio Flyer wagon, and filled it with al of our boys “stuff”. A slingshot, a wooden gun that shoots elastic bands, a coffee can filled with grasshoppers, a rubber alligator in a jar (the kind that get really big when you leave them in water), and a teddy bear, among other paraphernalia.

little boys with their wagon


We had bug nets along with us, to try and catch the many moths, along the way.

little boy catching bugs


There was this great patch of yellow wildflowers by my home studio near Millarville, which made a great backdrop for us. Brodie’s favourite colour is yellow, so he was very willing to be photographed by these flowers he’d been admiring every day.

little boy portrait with his wagon and dog

It was a super hot summer day, not unlike the days we’ve been having lately, so our photo shoot didn’t last too long.


Brodie was being super silly, and making us laugh with his goofy antics. I love his little boy summer look, with his longer hair, and super tanned skin. We called him surfer boy all summer.


David was pretty interested in all the stuff in the wagon. A lot of neat things in one place.


Usually I prefer natural children’s portraits, but every so often, it’s fun to set up a theme, let them have some fun, and use our imaginations.

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High River Airshow

Yesterday our family attended the High River Airshow, at the High River Regional Airport. It had been years since I attended an Airshow, so I was pretty excited.

I had the idea, rather last minute, to invite my brother down to see the show. He has his own plane, so he flew in for the afternoon, and we met him at the Okotoks Air Ranch Airport. As it often goes with last minute plans, we ended up cutting it short for arrival to the Airshow. Although we were technically on time for the show, the turnout was massive, and we ended up being stuck in one of several lines of vehicles, miles long, trying to get to the Airshow.

I was a bit disappointed, as I was very eager to see the Snowbirds up close, and hoped to capture some photographs of their spectacular act.  We did get to see most of their act from our further away vantage point, but we didn’t quite get the show that we were hoping to see.

Snowbirds Snowbirds at High River Snowbirds Canadian Forces Snowbirds


We did like seeing these baby hawks up close, in a tree by the side of the road, as we waited in line. They were a fitting prelude to the Skyhawks at the Airshow.

baby hawks in their nest

We were queued for an hour, before we finally made it onto the grounds. Luckily, there were still a few acts left.


The Skyhawks put on a good show!

Airshow-78 Canadian Forces Skyhawks

The Twin Otter was the plane the Skyhawks used to take them up.

Twin Otter at High River Airshow

The F-18 Hornet is always exhilarating, and deafening, as it blasts by overhead, and you feel the jetwash.

f-18 Jet

Thanks to everyone who made this event possible!

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Hike at Brown-Lowery Park

Yesterday the boys and I needed a summer outing. Inspired by the Facebook page “Taking a Hike with Your Children” (I still need to buy the book), I’ve decided to set a goal of one hike per week for the kids and I, for the rest of the summer.

I thought we’d best start small, and close to home, so I decided on Brown-Lowery Provincial Park,  a mere 10 minute drive from our house, between Millarville, and Bragg Creek. (We didn’t even need to pack a picnic, just a few snacks, and some water)

Donated to the Province by the Home Oil Company, Brown-Lowery is a little known, but enjoyable Provincial Park, where you can have a peaceful hike, and reconnect with nature. 

All of the trails we did were in forested areas. We enjoyed the singing birds, carpets of wildflowers, buzzing dragonflies, and the various pleasant scents of the forest. (and some not as pleasant smells of a skunk)


alberta wildflowers of the foothills


There were plenty of wooden bridges over small creeks, which are always fun for kids, as we recall fables of trolls, and billy goats. When you don’t reach a picnic area, wooden bridges are as good a place as any to stop and rest.


hiking with kids woodland stream


The kids indulged me as much as kids will, as I stopped to photograph the many kinds of wildflowers, before I got – “Mom, lets go!”


wood lily wildflowers


Our dog Max was our protector, as I’m sure there are many creatures back there, that I was not too keen on encountering with children. At the trailhead, when we set out, there were several sturdy walking sticks left behind by other hikers, so I grabbed one for the hike, just in case, in addition to my dog, and bear spray.


black lab


It was enjoyable afternoon. The boys and I did 3km in total. Brodie and I could have done more, but David was very tired by the end. It was a good day, and there are still plenty of trails left to discover next time.


Alberta wildflowers


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Family Reunion-Fun times, Great Memories Made

For the several weeks leading up to our family reunion, I had that Corb Lund song stuck in my head “Family Reunion, It’s gonna be a good one”. Well, it definitely was! Some families have fairly frequent reunions. As for my Mother-in-law’s family, the Brodie’s, they’d never had one. It was more than time to have an event that brought everyone together for a happy party, and great visit.

It was a great time had by all. From sweet little babies, energetic kids, adults in their prime, to the folks who are well seasoned, everyone enjoyed themselves.


Summer Baby Kids Water fight Baby Cuddles


I had to chuckle at Uncle Laurie’s introductions, “Hi! How are your? What have you been up to the past 20 years?” was rather fitting. But the years, and distance quickly melt away, as family visits and reconnects with each other.

My mother and father-in-law hosted the reunion at the “Imrie Estate”, near High Prairie, AB. It was the perfect venue, with plenty of room for tents, and campers.

Kristi supplied us with her pool, which was a definite hit of the weekend, especially since it was +30C all weekend. All ages were grateful for the cool down. I had a great time having pool fights with the kids.


Pool party Pool fun

Courtney treated us to her face, and body painting, providing adornment for all ages.

Games are always a great way to spend time together, as the men demonstrated their skills at lawn darts, and the younger crowd made frisbee drinking games, and shooters a sport. (for a short time)

Lawn Darts game


Many ladies worked together each meal to ensure there was plenty to eat, and no one person had to do all the work. Dorothy and Deanne provided us with a lovely catered supper on Saturday evening, which was the perfect meal in the hot weather, and let all the family enjoy their afternoon.


Family Reunion Dinner


It’s always difficult to drag everyone away from their preferred activities for family portraits, but everyone indulged me. I mean, when are we all going to be together like this again?

Here is the whole crew.

Family Reunion Group Portrait


The Brodie siblings.

Family Reunion Portrait



Family Reunion Cousins Portrait


Grandkids, and Great-grandkids

Grandkids Group Portrait


The full moon graced us by shining down on our event. It had been a few years since I was in Northern Alberta during the summer, and I’d forgotten how the sky stays light so late, and is bright again so early. It was great to experience that again, as we stayed up late around the campfire.


Full Moon over canola field


Steven treated us all to a fireworks show on Saturday night, which was a real treat.




The fun had to wind down much too quickly on Sunday, as many had to get back to work for Monday morning. We enjoyed breakfast together, and then I supplied a Piñata for the kids. Beating stuff with a stick is always fun. It took some diligence to make sure the little ones got out of each other’s way, but despite mine, and Jean’s stress over the children’s safety, they had a great time.


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A wonderful time was had, and great memories made. There is talk of making it a tradition……..

Until we meet again, best wishes to all:)

One Response to “Family Reunion-Fun times, Great Memories Made”

  1. Donna Beaven

    awesome . Love the way you put these pictures together

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Just a little photo share today, of my son David, blowing dandelion fuzz in the field at my home studio, near Millarville.

Although we as adults have been geared to hate dandelions, the sunny yellow flowers, and now the puffy magical seeds are irresistible for kids. My kids have been picking me dandelion bouquets for the past few weeks, and now they are enjoying blowing the seeds everywhere.

On a side note, now that my husband keeps bees, I no longer have the hatred of dandelions, as we’ve come to appreciate them as a valuable  spring forage crop for honeybees. This knowledge has given our boys an extra appreciation of these flowers as well.

I guess we all can learn a lesson in perspective here.

Kids Blowing Dandelion fuzz Kids Blowing Dandelion fuzKids Blowing Dandelion fuzz

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