Cancer survivor contest winner! – Ottawa Valley Photographers

Cancer survivor contest winner! – Ottawa Valley Photographers

Since Lisa and I have both lost our Mothers to Cancer in the last few years we decided that we needed to do something to honor their lives.  We came up with a yearly contest for a free Photo Session. We asked that people nominate someone living with Cancer or a Survivor. This year was our first year and 22 people were nominated. I wrote out each name nominated by hand and put it into in a bowl. My son was excited to pick a name…

The winner is… Tristan … a 7 year old boy who survived! He is energetic, funny, and full of Joy!  What a blessing it was to work with him and his blended family. I asked his mom to give me a bit of a timeline of his journey and she replied “He was diagnosed in April 2013 (when he was 5) with stage 3 kidney cancer (Wilms tumour) and had his right kidney removed shortly after. He had radiation for a week and chemo until October 2013. He did amazingly well all through his treatments and all his scans have been clear since then.”

We wish Tristan and this family a lifetime full of great health and happiness.

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A Growing Family- Ottawa Valley Photographers

A Growing Family- Ottawa Valley Photographers

In July we had the privilege of capturing some family photos of the “S” Family. After being able to capture both their Engagement and Wedding Photos , it was great to be a part of their first family photos. We absolutely adored Baby K and saw a clear extension of their love in him. The photos were taken on a very hot, sunny day at a local farm in Eganville Ontario. There wasn’t much shade to be found but that did not stop us nor this amazing family!  We are very happy for this couple and their little man and we wish them much happiness as they watch him grow. We have included a few pictures of this families journey with us below. Thanks you for letting us be a part of your special moments together! SpecialTreasuresBlog_0010 21406_610916258928825_476313447_n SpecialTreasuresBlog_0007 2015-08-06_0001 2015-08-06_0002 2015-08-06_0003 2015-08-06_0004

Sara and Jason’s Poolside Wedding

Sara and Jason are such a special Couple. They joined together with their closest family and friends around a beautiful pool side in Eganville Ontario. The Pool and stunning Tiki Bar area was located in a friends yard (Otherwise known as “Punta Canada”).  It was a gorgeous sunny day with plenty of heat. The Bride walked down the aisle with both of her parents at her side. Sara’s daughters were part of the wedding party. After the couples vows were read Jason had a surprise for the girls. Not only did he have vows and a ring for Sara, but also for them.

His vows:

“I know I wasn’t there for the first steps that you took, but I promise that from this day forward I will love and support you…”

The details of this wedding were centered around this great couple’s Love. Sara and Jason, with the help of the girls, even made their wedding cake from scratch. Formal pictures were taken just down the road at a huntcamp location with fields, rustic buildings, and even an old bus stop! LUCKY US…. the photo ops were endless!

Thank you for letting us share your special day with you… We wish Sara, Jason, the girls, and the new little bundle (coming this year) the best future possible.

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Vendors:

Hair: Signature Styles by Tia

Make Up: Chantal Smith – Beauty Secrets

Dress: David’s Bridal – Florida

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal – Ottawa

Flowers: Handmade by Mother of the Bride

Men’s wear: Express

Rings: People’s Jewellers

Wedding Favors: Antique Key Bottle Openers- The Wedding Shop

Caterer: Leather Works

Wedding Cake: Made with Love buy Sara, Raya and Alyssa, lovingly supervised by Jason.

Hiking for Hospice… Hiking for Mom…

Our family had the chance to give back to Hospice in a very big way! As many know, our mother/mother-in-law spent her last few months on earth in Hospice Renfrew. It truly is a home away from home. The staff and volunteers make everyday, no matter how hard or discouraging, a blessing for and with your dying loved one. It gave our family a chance to spend all of the quality time we could with mom (Sharon). It equally allowed mom the chance to have the respect and dignity she so deserved through the end of her disease and exhausting battle.  We were so honoured to be hiking for hospice, and very grateful to all of those who supported our team. On May 4th we took the hike for hospice and as a team raised  over 2,800 dollars. The entire event raised 65,000 dollars. Our team’s name was Nanny’s Ninjas, as mom so loved her grandkids. It was a rainy, windy, cool day but that did not stop anyone. We walked the 3km millennium trail in Renfrew On. Here are a collection of photos taken inside before and after the hike. If anyone is in need of end of life care Hospice Renfrew is an absolute blessing and I truly believe it is a little bit of heaven on earth. We look forward to hiking every year at this event in memory of Mom (Sharon).

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Where have you been? Are you OK?

We have gotten these questions from our wonderful clients who have been concerned that we seem to have disappeared.

On behalf of Jenn and myself, we are sorry;  we are still here but recently needed to take some time to be with family.  For those who do not know Jenn and I are sister-in-laws (I am married to her brother Rob) Last summer Jenn’s mom Sharon was diagnosed with cancer.  When they found the cancer we were optimistic and tried be as positive as possible.  As the results from the first CT scan came back we knew very quickly this was going to be a difficult fight.  Cancer Sucks.  It just does.  There is nothing good I can say about cancer.  Some people will tell us it can make you strong, or bring your family closer, but I can assure you cancer does none of these things, Sharon was strong before she got cancer, our family was close before Sharon got cancer.  It is so difficult to write this as I can feel the tears welling up.  Jenn and I decided that family was a priority, we took a small step back from our photography and only took a few bookings as we did not know what to expect.

On January 15 2014 Sharon lost her battle with cancer.

It has truly been the most difficult loss we have ever experienced and we just needed some time.

We can not thank our clients enough for their patience, understanding, support and sticking with us during this time.  We are truly blessed and now we have an angel to watch over us.  We also would like to thank the staff and volunteers at Hospice Renfrew who cared for Sharon and for our entire family.

Jenn wrote the following and had posted it on her Facebook page, I thought it best captured the love, the strength and the loss we have all been experiencing.

Heavy on my heart were these words tonight ! Love you momma

In the last months of your life I held your hand and told you that everything would be alright
I prayed for and with you…
I prepared my heart for the worst but hoped for the best
I spent as much time as I could with you
I didn’t want to have any regrets if this indeed was the beginning of the end of your life here on earth

In the last weeks of your life
I helped you take care of yourself
Maintaining dignity and respect
I read you your favorite bible verses
We talked about all of the life you had lived
Sometimes I just sat and watched you sleep …
Sometimes I just sat in silence while you told me all you had too.
Often I busied my hands to help you however I could,
I learned lessons, I gained the new ability to “hide” my own pain from you.
I know you must have saw through it…
but for both of us..
You did not acknowledge it..
We had to carry on!

I feel like I really found out what kind of a mother you had been all of those years… A gentle , helpful, selfless one..
And In the routine … Our roles changed so very much.
You taught me how to stand on my own two feet… And how to care in a way I could not have even imagined.
I know now it was the way that you cared for everyone…
I lost the ability to pray with words
I prayed in tears and song
I closed off the rest of my life
So I could try my best to hold up yours
I lived for you… I knew the end was near
It taught me how to make decisions without you
But… Still…
It did not teach me how to let you go.
I spent my quiet moments grieving a loss that had not yet occurred
I saw the sun … I felt the rain… But I was already mourning
Especially in the quiet …

In the last days of your life I plead your case aloud with God over and over.
But my heart had been prepared..
I never left your side,
And in the end I begged you to let go.
I told your wordless, barely responsive body that
I was tired, worn, and weak… That I might have to go home for awhile…

I couldn’t leave…

And then I was given the strength that you held onto your whole life ,
You grew weaker, your pained diseased body was failing, your heart was beating but you started to leave.

I waited with you… And my thoughts, actions , and words , were all consumed by waiting… You could not wake up, and we could not sleep…

And…
We all gathered around you,
In union we watched and waited.
Some read to you, some sang to you, some cried for you…

We took turns holding your hand
I know I kissed your face at least a dozen times that morning,
Your earthly body was changing,
And God was busy preparing your new body …
Your new home…

I could not do anything for you anymore,
I could not keep my hands busy to maintain or prolong your time with me…
So in those final moments I could no longer depend or be depended upon…

I was lost … I bowed my head and prayed the deepest prayer I had in so long… And then I lifted my head and knew it was time to say goodbye.

That miraculous moment when you opened your eyes,
And you cried for the life you were leaving behind,
We were all there to say goodbye,
And your eyes turned toward the light,
As the angels carried you to your new home…
That very moment is what sums it up for me…
That very moment where all of the joy and all of the pain in my heart met,
Where the deepest moans of mourning were heard
When We watched you leave,
In the way that you left…
You were “mother”, and you drew up an energy only God could give,
So you could mother us in your passing.

And all of the people who knew you tell stories of their blessings because of who you were.
But I could never express the blessings you passed on to me in this journey…
Picking up the pieces of my current life is refreshing, and beautiful…
However, it is fragile, and shaken, and frightening …

In the days after you died,
I have been filling my time with tasks
I have been loving my family
I have been yearning, longing, and grieving,
But I am doing fine, and I see the sun and I feel the rain,
And I have been living… Without you…
I know I am mothered by the legacy you left behind…
But when the grieving comes… I have to retreat, relive , and let go again….
Always in my heart momma!

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Jason & Melissa Say I Do…A Family Affair!

I am going to start off this blog with a quote from Lisa:

“Jenn and I love what we do…we say that all the time!  We think every wedding we shoot is special, and we are really so honoured that we have been invited to be a part of a couples most special day.  However, being part of Jason and Melissa’s wedding was even more special since it was a family wedding!  Not only did Jenn and I get a front row seat for this amazing day but we are so lucky to welcome Jason’s beautiful bride Melissa into the family! ”

This day was clearly so abundantly special. Both of my brothers were groomsmen in this wedding, one being Lisa’s hubby. The entire day had such a high energy feel as we took photo’s. I have to say that Melissa and Jason are two of the most laid back people I have ever met. Their LOVE for one another is so real and present in every conversation, picture, and memory of the day. There was never any need to be stressed or worried about anything… One part of the day just flowed into the next as wedding day unfolded.

The girl’s got ready at Melissa’s Parent’s home, which also was where the ceremony was later held. I stayed with Lisa and took photo’s for awhile and then headed off to grab some pre- wedding shots of the groomsmen in Eganville at the couple’s home.  I think at many times I was holding my camera “snapping away” with one hand and doing up buttons, fixing ties, collars, suspenders etc. with the other! I definitely witnessed some laugh’s as the boys had a few beer to celebrate the occasion. And this may be the only time of the entire day when I could see some “nerves” present. Jason was definitely feeling a few nerves for a couple brief moments during the “getting ready”.   It was such an honour for both of us to be so involved in the pre- ceremony events.

When returning to the ceremony site, I remember feeling butterflies thinking about what Melissa would look like… and honestly when I saw her come around the corner…. I was speechless. She was even more breathtakingly beautiful then I had thought she would be. And I already had high expectations!!!!  The dress was so perfect for her!  The couple shared their vows in front of their closest family and friends.  Melissa even had some tears during hers!!!! It was beautiful! Their was a sand ceremony to mark the couple’s union. Pastor Annette did an amazing job at describing the love these two had for each other and all other parts of the ceremony.

After the ceremony formals took place on the same property. It was full of rustic gardens and had a waterfront view. We also did some formals at a property close by that was an open field in front of a beautiful landscape of water and rolling hills.  The ring bearer and flower girl were so full of personality and were very cooperative with all of the business of the day. The little ring bearer was absolutely a riot and always made us work very hard to get the perfect shot. What he didn’t realize was that all of the little faces he was making were  wonderfully cute memories to have as well.

The Bride’s parents were so accommodating throughout the day, and I know they put so much work into the ceremony and  cocktail hour(s) to follow. Melissa’s dad was even mowing grass the morning of the wedding to make sure everything looked perfect.. and that it did!!! Great Job to both families and all of the friends that helped bring the day together!

The reception was held at the Eganville arena, and was quite a sight to see. The lime green and raspberry colours transformed the hall. There were (what seemed like)  an infinite number of trees lit up with twinkling lights. During the first dance we could really see the intimate bond between these two individuals.  We often tell the bride and groom at every wedding that they need to look at each other during the first dance so we can get some shots using different lighting techniques etc. When I told Jason this he said ” I won’t be looking anywhere else because that is the only place I want to look”.  This couple was perfectly matched for one another.

We would like to note that Sidewinder was the entertainment for the evening and did an amazing job!

To the Bride and Groom:  We wish you the best future filled with as much Love as we witnessed on your Special Wedding Day. Lisa and I  are very lucky that in this case we get to watch your future unfold. CONGRATS!

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Life’s a beach… Julie and Jody’s Wedding

This Wedding was a very memorable one…. right from the night of the rehearsal I could see an absolute excitement about the Groom.  Even though the Wedding day was very HOT, and Jody (like most men) , would rather have been not taking a zillion pictures… His love for his Bride was shining through. He was an absolute gentleman and I loved watching him pick up her dress, shoes, or flowers, without even asking. His concern was her comfort and happiness and it melted our hearts.  He got very emotional during the ceremony and it was honestly the highlight to my day… We just knew this couple’s journey was so dear and close to his heart.

When we met this couple their Daughter was just a baby…. and on the big day… we realized how much she had grown. It was so great to see how their love was also expressed through her. What a wonderful unity to capture!

The day itself, was HOT HOT HOT, and sunny. But it was a perfect day for a beach Wedding! The couple was married at The Sands on Golden Lake, one of our personal favorite venues in this area, and their formal pictures were done along the shoreline and across the road in a field that belongs to The Sands as well.  Before we started shooting the wedding we took some beautiful pictures of the Spa ( which we will include in a blog at a later time), and after we were done it really struck me that this location was so perfect for this couple. It is so intimate and serene…. peaceful and fulfilling. It feels like a perfect place to start the rest of your life together.

Before the Ceremony began, we captured a few images of the bride and her ladies getting ready.  Lisa and I fell in love with the Bride’s shoes and the Dress immediately….  Then the Bride and Groom’s little 2-year-old princess showed up and the excitement in Julie’s face when she saw her daughter made me want to cry. It was beautiful.  We realized shortly after that the flower girls would be 3 little 2-year-old princess’ and fishy crackers were being passed around frequently as they awaited the Ceremony to start.

The ceremony was very personal and intimate. It highlighted all that we love about our couple. It was an emotional ceremony and it was great to be a part of. I love watching and capturing the couple’s daughter walk up to her mommy and daddy several times throughout the ceremony. I loved that she was just left to be a part of the union! Beautiful!

The formal pictures were  very easy to accomplish because of so much love, friendship, and cooperation from the entire Wedding party. Such a great group to work with! During the private couple photos, again in the heat of the day, you could almost feel this couple’s energy. It was truly like time stopped in those moments and they just felt the Love they needed to feel for these photos to be real.

Julie and Jody we were honored to be there capturing your moments and we wish you a lifetime full of many great memories and much love!

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