The Great Gingerbread House Tradition

Gingerbread house decorating is my very favorite holiday tradition. When the kids were younger they would decorate a house together but now that they are older they each get their own house. We take a trip to the store together and pick out some special candies and then we put on some Christmas music and they go to town. 

They will spend the entire afternoon layering icing onto candy. The day ends with the table covered in a thin layer of icing, sprinkles all over the floor, and the house smelling of delicious gingerbread. 

I love watching how seriously they take this project. The care they put into precisely pipping the icing, delicately placing candies strategically all over the walls, and then sneaking samples of candy and icing when they think no one is watching. 

After their pieces have dried we assemble the houses, and I am happy to report this year there were no house casualties. 

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An Afternoon with Daniel

This is my sister Nicole and nephew Daniel. Daniel is almost a year old and I just cannot get enough of him! (my sister is pretty great too lol) It has been amazing to watch Daniel grow and develop throughout these last 11 months. 

During my time with them my goal was to tell the story of their afternoon.  When I arrived for the session I began to notice those little things that help tell the story of their day. All those medical syringes, the binder my sister uses to document and keep track of Daniel’s health, the blood sugar monitor, and of course his baby toys.  In the few hours I spent with them I captured a whole gallery full of images but here is just a small glimpse into their day. 

 

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Daniel’s days looks a little different than most babies and that’s what I set out to document for my sister. On this particular afternoon I showed up during nap time. Daniel had a nice long nap which meant Nicole had some time to prepare his meds for the week.  After nap, it was snack time for Daniel and a call from Daniel’s nurse for my sister. Then Daniel and Nicole got to enjoy some playtime. Daniel is working on perfecting his sitting, and loves playing with his toys. 

 

Ps. If you want to follow along with Daniel’s journey he has his own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DailyDoseOfDaniel/

Why Documentary Family Photography?

I fell in love with documentary photography when I started to realize just how quickly my own children were changing. Realizing that the photographs that I love most are the ones where my children are doing things that they love, in their own environment, just being themselves.  Seriously they grow so quickly! This is something we hear all the time but I never really understood it until I sat back and realized that favorite shirt they used to wear, or stuffed animal they carried around, the way they wouldn’t eat that sandwich at lunch unless it was cut into perfect squares with the crust removed, how they used to reach to be picked up all the time, or play with my hair as we sat and watched their favourite show, all of those moments are behind us. 

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At the time though, when my kids were really young, I was focused on getting through the day, or maybe just getting through that hour, making our way to nap time. We were busy learning our shapes, alphabet, colors, potty training, learning to read, teaching them chores. And don't get me wrong all those amazing things that I miss so much have all been replaced with equally awesome things, but the difference is, now I capture them.  Sure back then I stopped to take some photographs but if I am being honest there are a lot of smile and look at the camera photos. I captured their faces as they were, their size, sometimes their personalities shone through, but those aren’t my favorite photographs. 

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My favorites are the ones where they are concentrating on building that big block tower, reading their favorite book for the 100th time, practicing their piano lesson. Those photographs where I found them asleep laying on top of literally all the books they own, or cuddling with their teddy bear quietly in their room. Those photographs where they are playing together, being silly and you can almost hear their laughter through the image. All of those photographs are my favourites and what have brought me to documentary photography. Real life moments.

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Documentary family photography allows the real moments to be captured. Those family interactions, personalities, those little gestures that they are sure to outgrow. The silliness of childhood, the carefree moments, the calm moments, the sad moments, and everything in between. There is no need to pick out those matching outfits, no need for perfect hair, leave that stack of favourite books on the table, keep those toys on the floor, bring out their favourite blanket, let them wear their favourite shirt. Hey, maybe layer it up with some items from their dress up bin. I go into a documentary session with the goal of freezing these special moments in time. The moments that as we go through the day, seem ordinary but are the most missed as we grow, change, and age.