Valérie & Josh | Riverside Golf and Country Club Beach and City Wedding [Rothesay, NB]

Valérie and Josh had a pretty crazy year…I first met Val in early winter 2016 when she was newly pregnant; we then did maternity photos in the Fall and shortly after I met their gorgeous daughter Lily; almost exactly a year after their maternity photos they were wedded on a beautiful, sunny fall day (even though every single forecast called for rain and doom and gloom), and a month later I took Lily’s 1-year photos. Needless to say I got to know them pretty well in the past 1.5 years and every time we met up I appreciated them and their love even more. The wedding was fun and chaotic and elegant and more than once I told my assistant Sara that their Mispec coastal home reminded me of coastal California (the antique cars and their classic good looks really added to the vibe), and I simply loved every moment. I cannot wait to see where their adventure takes them next.

Couple: Valérie Morin and Josh Hunter

Ceremony Location: Riverside Golf & Country Club, Rothesay, NB

Reception Location: Riverside Golf & Country Club, Rothesay, NB

Photo Locations: Mispec Beach, Uptown SJ

Make-Up: Patience Cole Artistry

Dress: Impression bridal, Carousel Bridal

Florals: Creative Designs by Beth Jones

Decor: Creative Designs by Beth Jones, Canelle et moi (wooden sign)

DJ: DJ & Event Services

Videographer: Wedding Films – Dean Aubie

Cake: The Cake Lady (Debbie Breau)

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Chloe and Nick | Hampton, NB Couples Photographer

Chloe contacted me about a fun session for her and her boyfriend Nick (and their new puppy), and it was a perfect evening! These two are still very much in the new cuddly-kissy-love-being-around-each-other phase of their relationship, they were so fun to watch and to capture that buzzing energy was a great shot in the arm as to why I love photographing couples most of all. We explored Darlings Island a bit, we laughed over a Chicken Nuggets joke, we walked the pup, it was a fun time.

Definitely hoping to work with these two again!

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Life with Big(little) Kids

[All photos were taken this past summer by the incredibly talented Heather Wilkinson out of Woodstock. She is one of the best family portrait photographers in the province and I was so thrilled with our images, this was our first official family photo session and I’m glad that we waited until the kids were older because this is definitely the age I want to forever remember them at.]

 

I am about as far from a ‘mommy blogger’ as you could get; I am the first to admit that I am not the most naturally maternal figure, and I have had plenty of moments where I have struggled with my identity as a mom, oftentimes pushing back against it and resisting the role (but *that* is another story for another day). I am far from perfect; I am mediocre, really, at best. But, in my brief 8-ish years of being a parent to two children, one thing I have always tried my best to do is to notice the journey that I’m on while I’m in the midst of it, because if there’s one thing about motherhood that is true and ever present is change. Motherhood changes every hour, every day, every week, every month and every year. It may feel like you are in a certain stage forever until you notice that all of a sudden, you aren’t. You are changing, your kids are changing, your relationship with them is changing, your relationship with your partner is changing, your home changes…it’s never-ending. One of the many things that photography has done for me is it has allowed me to capture those changes before they move on; even when I dreaded the stage I was in (and there were many early on), I found comfort in documenting our moments for a possible future memory. Sometimes it was the only thing that got me through, and what I constantly turned to to hang on to my old self while growing into my new self. I am eternally grateful for this and will never stop photographing our lives for this reason. Otherwise, you forget. You think you won’t, but you do.

Anyway, back to the mommy blogging thing.

There are tons and tons of articles out there about being a mother to babies and young children; it makes sense as these first few years are the most intense, most overwhelming and most chaotic of your lives, and as I mentioned earlier, these years are FILLED with change. It’s hard to keep up most days; frankly, it’s exhausting. That’s why it’s so wonderful that mothers out there are able to write about their experiences of raising young babies and toddlers, because it’s easy to feel alone in the journey. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that there aren’t as many articles about raising the ‘big kids’. Maybe because it’s ‘easier’ in many ways compared to the early years, maybe because there isn’t a need to share your experiences since they are mostly positive and you feel more established as a mother, maybe there are issues of privacy at hand, I’m not sure, but as someone who absolutely LOVES her ‘big kids’ (who really aren’t even that big), I feel as though more should be said about this stage of life-which, if you’re lucky, will last a good 5-8 years. I remember my mom saying before I had kids that the best ages were 6-9 or so; I’ve also seen this called the ‘golden age of childhood’, and so far I have to agree. It’s the sweet spot; old (and big) enough to be independent, but still little enough to have that wonder and curiosity about the world that is so precious, and also small enough to still need you in many rewarding ways.

My experience so far with this age has been almost nothing but positive!! I still claim that 5 has been my favorite age with both kids so far, by far. Of course it’s not perfect and has its own unique challenges, as all ages do, but the positives far outweigh the negatives, which I couldn’t say about the toddlers years (you can only use “but they’re cute!” as an excuse so many times for all their bullsh*t). The biggest change is the expansion of their world beyond your home/out of home care. School, activities, friends’ houses, they are going through all these experiences without you for the first time, and that’s a huge adjustment for everyone. Trying to figure out when to push and encourage and when to let go is also a huge change from the early days when it was natural to do everything and make all the decisions for them. Now they want to make their own choices and they have their own opinions about their lives, and you need to learn to respect that, even when it’s not what you would want for them. I’m sure moms of teens and adult children know this better than me, but it’s starting already! With big kids it is constant learning, constant questions, but the pleasure of it is that the questions become more complex and you can really dig deeper into your conversations with them-it’s so much fun. Having actual conversations with them is one of the best parts; it can also be the most stressful as you realize that now is the time to teach them about social justice and diversity, media literacy, healthy relationships with their body, sex, food and others, the concepts of race and religion and manners and kindness and so, so, so many other things. It can sometimes feel just as overwhelming as those early days of getting them to eat and sleep enough. Their personalities are really emerging and you are often shocked at just how clever, smart and funny they are. They are independent in their basic needs (thank GOD), but still need you to teach them the next steps in independence (things like cooking, using tools, money, etc), and most of all, they need you to help their world continue to expand which means, again, letting them go. So far I feel as though the ‘letting go’ part has been relatively easy (again, probably because I’m not super motherly), and my kids have grown up naturally independent because of it, but sometimes I still struggle with their insistence of growing up so quick. I don’t necessarily long for them to be little again, but sometimes I wouldn’t mind a cuddle from Victor (who rarely cuddles anymore) or a view of Violet toddling through our back field to pick a flower (she rarely wants to go on walks anymore).

It’s being in the middle, looking back, and looking forward at the same time.

To end this long ramble (congrats if you made it this far!), I thought I’d try to describe what’s it’s like living with these little creatures, these ‘big kids’, to perhaps give hope to new moms out there ‘in the trenches’, and to continue my intent of observing the journey, and to soak it up as much as I can because I know the someday, I will really miss THIS (and I mean really).

Life with big(little) kids is:

-nights of ‘one more chapter!’ from the chapter books you now read, and sometimes nights of no stories at all;

-the worst morning breath you could ever imagine, but not wanting to push them away when they get close because you know those kisses are getting rarer and rarer;

-using intentional words and stressing about the societal messages you want to teach them through these words;

-running from one room to another at full clip;

-papers with scribbles, words, stories and pictures everywhere (and a craft cabinet that constantly needs restocking);

-struggling with winners and losers while playing board games;

-finding condiments and food scattered on the counters after a snack-raid;

-saying ‘let’s go’ at the park or store and not dealing with any tantrums;

-constantly changing interests between space and dinosaurs and science and helicopters and art and everything under the sun;

-clothes that seem to shrink in less than a season;

-watching them dance in that self-conscious-less way that little kids do;

-glow in the dark stars on the ceiling;

-trips to the Dollarama for treats;

-playing crazy 8s with those giant cards;

-fart jokes and butt jokes and poopy head jokes;

-watching A LOT of video games being played;

-snuggling on the couch even though they are getting too heavy and your arm goes numb;

-report cards and acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses;

Life with big(little) kids is:

-questions about Santa Claus and God and vampires;

-seeing yourself in their behaviors;

-jumping up on the counters with their stiff arms, and seeing how their heads are well above the cabinet line now;

-sharp words, or a moody look, that immediately allow you a glimpse into their teenage selves;

-fewer and fewer toys and more and more ‘hobbies’;

-picking them up whenever you can but feeling them stiffen in your arms (so you put them down);

-imagination games that go on for hours;

-correcting their mispronunciations (or sometimes letting them say it cutely for just a little longer);

-sending them to bed and knowing that they will sleep through, no matter what;

-watching them interact with other grown-ups and struggling not to answer for them or swoop in to help;

(-resisting the urge to swoop in to help, period;)

-drinking your coffee hot again;

-wrestling and yelling and fighting and tattling;

Life with big(little) kids is:

-feeling bored because you don’t even *see* them for hours at a time;

-camping trips that are the highlight of their year;

-feigning interest in their online obsessions like Youtube videos and Minecraft;

-holes in their socks, and socks that are constantly being taken off and left all over the house;

-fighting them to get into the bath when before they would go in 2x a day just for fun;

-laughing at ‘jokes’ they try to tell (and instead laughing at their delivery);

-pulling them out of bed on school mornings but hearing them get up early on weekends (you still sleep in though);

-the BEST art;

-googling answers to questions you don’t know the answers to;

-leaving the house with nothing (except maybe a water bottle because they’re always thirsty);

-constantly wondering which moments they will remember from their childhood (aka their right now);

-walking the line between being their friend and being their parent;

-spaghetti sauce (still) all over their faces;

Life with big(little) kids is:

-realizing that they are, in fact, still small when you see them out in the big wide open world of nature;

-encouraging their independence while wanting to hold on, so tight;

-toothpaste in the sink;

-social awkwardness and bullies and feeling insane protective rage when they are ill treated by other kids;

-little plastic cups that you keep around longer than you should and intend to keep for your grandchildren;

-genuine amazement when they tell you something that they learned;

-training wheels and velcro shoes and missing teeth and shoelaces and lifejackets and skates;

-“dad” and not “daddy” for the first time;

-bursting into laughter when you see their inevitable penis-shaped drawings/sculptures;

-looking over at them and catching your breath because you can *see* the baby they once were;

-being perfectly content with your lives together and wanting to freeze these days, and knowing you’d be happy if you could.

These are our “good old days”.

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Meet Lillian | New Brunswick Newborn Photographer

Oh my goodness this baby. Just absolutely perfect in every way, Lillian is the little sister to perhaps the 2nd most perfect baby ever, Benjamin, who I photographed through his first year of life in 2015-2016. He’s now the proud older brother and I’ll be following Lillian on a similar journey throughout her first year, I can’t wait!! So honored that Ausaf and Carolyn chose me to document their family history once again <3

Everyone, meet Lillian (oh, and she is almost an EXACT duplicate of her brother at this age, it was uncanny!)

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Emily and Spencer | Kingston, NB Engagement Photographer

I absolutely love it when a couple embraces who they are and doesn’t try to be anything other than who they are together during their session, and this is what Emily and Spencer did back in September for their engagement photos. They felt silly, they laughed, they leaned into each other, they broke away when it got to be too much, and they were open and up for exploring a bit, which makes them a perfect couple in my book. We went to Moss Glen Falls, then explored around Kingston a little bit, one of my favorite places in the province! I am looking forward to their 2018 wedding, I know that there will be many more laughs and cuddles (and hopefully more perfect weather.)

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