Joffre Lake Hike

My husband really got me into hiking a few years ago as we were starting to try and get in better shape for our wedding. Every week was a different adventure, a different sense of accomplishment and a different mountain. We’ve done many easy hikes and a few much tougher ones. Ones that made me question why in the world do I do this to myself, but then I’m reminded at the top why I do it.

When we decided to go to Whistler for our second wedding anniversary, we wanted to take in a few hikes in the area. The first one that jumped to my mind was the Joffre Lake hike, as it’s been on my hiking bucket list for the past few years. It was listed as a “medium” skill level hike which was good for us as we had our two dogs with us. So we set off early one morning and arrived at the parking lot just as the sun was making its way up and over the mountain top.

Now this hike is normally VERY busy in the summer months, but because we went in October and on a Tuesday, it was actually quite quiet. It was a tough hike, much tougher than I anticipated. It was straight up hill for a long portion of the trail. I had to stop at one point, getting light headed and we contemplated turning back. But I wanted to keep going, to see a spot that I’d only seen in photos but fell in love with.

Well, it was totally worth it! The view at the middle lake was STUNNING beyond words. We stopped and the dogs jumped in the lake to cool off and then we kept going up to the upper lake which was just as amazing. It was a hard hike and I really hurt the next day. But man, oh man! Was it ever worth every step it took to get up there!

Fall Mini Sessions - Day One

I love fall! Like seriously! Not in a crazy pumpkin spice latte way (I hate everything pumpkin). But in a chunky sweater and scarf kinda way. Because of my love for fall, it’s one of my favourite times of year to do family mini sessions! This year we booked two dates for mini session, and on the first date at the end of September we ventured out to Osprey Village in Pitt Meadows. It literally didn’t rain a drop while we did the photos, but started to pour as soon as we started to drive home. Thank you to everyone that came out for day one of our Fall Mini Sessions! jWe can’t wait to see you all again next year!

Introducing Asha - Lifestyle Newborn Session

I was so excited to meet Asha at her at-home newborn session. Her big brother Amari was so amazing during the session, holding and protecting his baby sister <3 I love that we were able to continue the tradition of photos with the Fairy Tale book that we first used in Bal’s maternity photos with Amari. The book may be a bit more worn, but it holds a special place in the family’s heart.

Introducing Harper - Lifestyle Newborn Session

I was so excited for Tamara and Dave when I found out that they were expecting again! I had the honour of capturing the newborn photos of their first son, Mason, and their wedding photos so it was amazing to be invited back into their home to capture the newborn photos of their beautiful daughter Harper! Mason was an absolute ham during the session and we were able to get some special moments of them as a family of 4. Welcome to such an amazing family Harper!

Styled Session with Everything But the Groom

When Heidi mentioned to me in the summer that she wanted to do a styled shoot that focused on all the stunning plus-sized dresses they have in the store, I totally wanted to be part of it. Fast forward a few months later and we got together on a private property to photograph some stunning dresses that Heidi has at Everything But The Groom! Robyn and Veronica were amazing models and I love that Heidi brought so many dresses for us to work with! This is one of the reasons that I love Everything But The Groom they have so many dress options for EVERY body type!

Alex and Marianna - Pitt Lake Engagement Session

We hoped for good weather, and all Alex and Marianna wanted for their engagement photos was a location that they could take in beautiful mountains. Then the day came for their engagement session and the mountains were not only socked in by smoke, but there was also crazy wind and torrential rain! Not exactly what you want for your engagement photos. We postponed a week out, hoped for better weather, and boy did it ever deliver. I had so much fun exploring around the Pitt Lake area with them, finding the best spots to take in the lake and the mountains. We talked about how hard wedding planning can be and how much time it takes up. So I shared a little secret with them that I thought of about a year ago.

When you get engaged get a jar, every time there is something you think of that you want to do together, but can’t because you need to do wedding planning/errands write it down and put it in the jar. Then over then your first year of marriage, when you have time to do something together, pull a piece from the jar and do what it says! It’s a fun and exciting way of still doing all the things you want to do together.

These two are so natural with each other and I simply love the way their photos turned out! I was great to hear more about their plans and I can’t wait for the April wedding next year!

Kristen and Justin - At Home Couples Session

I’ve been lucky enough to get to do a few different sessions for Kristen and Justin over this past year. When she approached me to do an at-home couples session, in their newly renovated townhouse, how could I say no? These two are so much fun to photograph and I love this super cuddly session!

Kelsey and Zee - Chilliwack River Engagement Session

When I first met Kelsey and Zee I absolutely loved hearing about their proposal story. I can only imagine the stress that goes into planning a proposal for a guy, to only then have the weather cause your plans to fall apart. Zee had planned to purpose on a Whale Watching trip, but the winds picked up on the day of their tour and it was cancelled. While a week isn’t a long time I’m sure the next week went by at a snail’s pace for Zee until he got his second opportunity to ask Kelsey to be his wife.

Now these two say they have never done photos before but you would never know it by looking at their session! They absolutely killed their engagement photos and were complete naturals in front of the camera. I am so excited for their wedding in February and to get them back in front of my camera again!

Hillier Family - Campbell Valley Family Session

Fall came early for this session. I’ve been doing Jo’s family photos for a number of years and we usually do them early September to capture the last bits of summer. This year the leaves started to turn early and even though it was over 25 degrees the day we did their session, their photos definitely have a fall feeling to them. Jo’s kids are amazing and full of personality and I always love when I get together with them to take some new photos!

Stacey and Dave - Dairy Farm Engagement Session

When I first met Stacey and Dave and they mentioned that they were wanting to do their engagement photos at the dairy farm where Stacey works, my response was, “Heck yeah!” Like, come on? Getting to hang out with an amazing couple and cows? Totally up my alley!

Stacey and Dave met through friends and their mutual love of camping and the outdoors. I think this is one of the reasons that we clicked when we first met. They have a number of family pets, include a few dogs that they love to take on hikes. Stacey also has a pet cow that lives in their backyard!

I may have destroyed a pair of old shoes, and came home with poop on my legs and pants, but it was totally worth it!

We can’t wait for their wedding next April!

Chan Family - Blackie Spit Family Session

I’m sure I could put together a string of photos to show the evolution of Brisie growing up, but I’m also sure I could put a string of photos together to show the evolution of her pig-tails! I love that I’ve gotten the chance to watch this girl grow up in front of my camera and I always look forward to our sessions together!

Social Sips

I’ve known Nicole since my high school days. When she contacted me to do some new headshots for her and some promo photos for her to use on social media I was totally game. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t like to hang out with an amazing girl boss and wine for the afternoon? If you have friends (and those friends love wine) you totally need to check the website out for Social Sips!

Everything But the Groom - Headshots

I have to say over the years I’ve met some amazing people in the wedding industry! Heidi and her team of beautiful women at Everything But The Groom are no exception. I was so excited that Heidi contacted me to capture some updated headshots of her fabulous team for their new website. I always get so excited when I get to go to the store and see all the pretty dresses. It always makes me want to play dress up!

So if you are looking for that special wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, or prom dresses you should definitely check out Everything But The Groom in Langley!

Bal - Stewart Farm House Maternity Session

Bal and I go way back, our lockers were beside each other in senior high school and I’m so glad that we’ve stayed connected throughout the years. I was super excited to hear that she was expecting her second child, as she’s an absolutely amazing mom to her little guy Amari!

When she first contacted me to do her maternity photo I didn’t have much availability as it was right in the middle of summer. Luckily, I had a last-minute cancellation and we were able to get together to do some of the last photos of them as a family of 3!

I’ll tell you something: pregnancy looks good on this girl, and I’m so excited that the next session that I will do with them, they will be a family of 4!

Alan and Rosemary - Summer Wedding Reception

You might recognize Alan and Rosemary from their Squamish winter wedding back in December! Their December ceremony was a close family event, with the party happening in the summer at Alan’s family’s farm in Courtney, BC. My hubby and I packed up our car and headed to the island for the weekend to celebrate with Alan and Rosemary.

The farm was amazing, especially the blueberries! I have to admit I’ve never shot a wedding where during the reception and dancing the guests could just go out into the fields and fill mason jars with blueberries to eat! It was great to spend time as the photographer and as a guest, playing giant Jenga in-between shots. They even had two food trucks on site to feed everyone and the food was AMAZING!!

My hubby even decided to put together a few special photos for Alan, so he could always remember him!

Congratulations to both of you and we can’t wait to meet your new bundle of joy in the new year!

Izzy - Lifestyle Newborn Session

I’ve really fallen in love with at-home newborn sessions! I love the story that they tell of the everyday life of the families that I capture and that I’m able to take in the details of the nursery. When I did Moria and Derek’s maternity session for their first daughter it was in this same home, so it was super cool to come back for their second daughter’s newborn session. There were a few photos that they wanted to do so that they’d have the same images for both daughters, and I’m super happy that we were able to do them! Congratulations Moira, Derek, and Nevaeh: Izzy is a beautiful addition to your already amazing family!

Marie-Eve and Matt - Campbell Valley Engagement Session

We first met Marie-Eve at the All Dressed in White Wedding Show at the Anvil Centre in April. She was the lucky winner of our Ultimate Engagement Session with hair and makeup by the fabulous Makeup by Rae, and dinner at The Keg on us! They wanted to have a summery session, so we picked a day in July at Campbell Valley Park for their sunset engagement session.

We spent the whole session laughing and talking about their wedding in May 2018. It was great to hear about how they met, their son, and all the plans for their big day. I’m super excited that we get to be part of their wedding day next year, and I absolutely love the photos from their engagement session!

An Open Letter to My Husband on Our Second Wedding Anniversary

Photo by: Leanne Sim, Photographer

Photo by: Leanne Sim, Photographer

It’s hard to know where to even begin. Our second year of marriage posed us with the most obstacles, the hardest challenges, but we came out better people in the end. This letter has been running through my head most of this year, wondering if I could find the right words to describe how you supported me. In my mind, these letters should express my love for you, but I’d be amiss to not address the hardest time in our relationship (and maybe my life) and how you got me through it.

I guess the best place so start is at the place where we last left off, October 3rd, 2016, our first wedding anniversary. We took the week off to spend time together, a staycation as I was shooting weddings on both weekends surrounding our anniversary. We made the plan to go for walks, enjoy time together and then we would go away to Tofino together in November to really celebrate. October 4th was when this year took its first hard turn. It’s one of the dates from this past year that I’ll never forget. Taking my mom to a specialist appointment and hearing the words, we need to run more tests, it might be cancer. The “C” word. We had to wait two weeks for the results but we all knew what they would be. 

I went with my mom to her appointment and sure enough the diagnosis was what we all expected, it was cancer. But in the doctor’s words the best possible form of cancer, because once surgery was completed there was a good likelihood that no other treatment would be needed. No chemo, no radiation. Her surgery appointment was booked for two weeks later, the day we were to leave to go to Tofino to celebrate our anniversary.  There was no question about cancelling our trip as we both wanted to be there for my mom.

The next two weeks were the worst. I didn’t want to cry at home and for the first time in my life I was compartmentalizing every emotion I had. I would cry the whole drive in to work and home, but at home I was just emotionless. You begged me to talk to you, but I couldn’t, I just wanted to be strong. To prove to myself I could be strong. I could see how hard it was for you to see me in this state but I was completely incapable of doing anything differently.

The day of mom’s surgery you were at my side. I remember sitting with you at crescent beach waiting, what seemed like forever, to get the call that mom was ok. I remember offering to go home and you refusing to go any further away from the hospital then where we were. You will never know how much that meant to me. Well the call came through and she made it through the surgery like a champ. We were lucky, they got everything with the surgery and it hadn’t spread! Mom was cancer free! From initial appointment to getting the all clear it seemed like an eternity but it was only 6 weeks.

While I couldn’t express how I was feeling and couldn’t talk about it knowing you were there for me was all I needed. I knew if I could find the words you’d listen, if I needed a hug you’d wrap me in your arms.

But unfortunately for us this wasn’t the only challenge we were going to face. I knew from early on in our relationship how important it was for you to have a family, and I wanted that too. I wanted nothing more than to be a mom and the mother of your child. But like many people have faced we tried with no luck. After 8 months of trying I knew something just wasn’t right and begged our doctor to run some preliminary tests. Three days after my mom’s surgery we got the news, I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and was in the beginning stages of Type 2 Diabetes. The doctor needed me to make immediate lifestyle changes so that I could be healthier to possibly be able to one day give us the child we wanted so badly.  In the moment, I felt terrible about the situation but as the days passed and I learned more about PCOS so much of my weight struggles made sense, things I had felt made sense. Being diagnosed with PCOS and potentially Type 2 diabetes was a blessing not a curse. I had answers and I had actions I could take. I was going to own this, it wasn’t going to own me. The strength you gave me in this time was the reason I knew I would overcome this.

You made it through the hangry spells as I eliminated certain foods from my life. You went on walks with me and encouraged me to stay active. You made meals for me that were “Morgan Friendly” and really came with me on this journey. You even made me my own Easter egg hunt with sweets I could eat. This wasn’t a diet to lose weight, it was a complete lifestyle change, for us, for our family. You joined me on this journey and I have loved seeing you become happier and more confident along the way!

We knew having a child was off the table for a little bit until I was healthy enough, so we grew our family by 4 paws instead, welcoming Buddy. It’s been so much fun raising him with you together, and celebrating his milestones. I love that you share photos of him with your friends as if he was your child. He was the turning point in what was a challenging start to our second year of marriage.

I remember at New Years being so happy that 2016 was behind us and we could focus on making 2017 a better year for all of us. You started off by surprising me with an idea for our vacation to go to Disneyland. Knowing how much I loved all things Disney you said you wanted to make me happy. Knowing how much you didn’t like Disney it meant the world to me that you would take me there. It was truly one of the most amazing trips and really made our relationship stronger. I’ll never forget the look on your face when you met Darth Vader and Chewbacca, it was an absolute highlight for me to see you so happy. 

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I was worried about providing enough for our family, only having a small number of weddings booked for the year. But reflecting back that was a blessing. It allowed me to spend more time on bettering myself and spending more time with family and friends. In a year that I couldn’t be the rock I normally am for everyone else I needed to have my family and friends at my side. I needed that time.

Looking back on all this year has brought us I really focus on the best parts that made this year amazing and think about the things we learned from all the challenges. Someone once told me that a relationship is a combination of two people to get to 100%. Most time the two people both put in 50% but sometimes, when one isn’t able to the other needs to put in more. You did that, you put in more for me this year when I was not capable of putting in 50%, sometimes I think putting in almost a full 100% when I was falling apart.

I know this year was hard, but we had so many new memories together from it. We now have two wonderful dogs that fill our lives with laughter and love, amazing memories from our first road trip down the west coast of the US, so many moments of happiness spending time with family and friends, and most importantly I think we learned the true meaning of being partners in life. I know this year was hard on me, but I know it was also hard on you, but yet you still kept me going each and everyday. I want you to know how much the little things you do for me make each day brighter and I’m so glad to have you at my side each and every day. I love you more than you will ever know. Happy 2nd Anniversary my love!

Photos by: Leanne Sim, Photographer

Photos by: Leanne Sim, Photographer

The Niemi Family - Campbell Valley Family Session

The Niemi family is another family that I’ve been lucky enough to photograph for many years! Funny enough, on the day that we did this session, on my “Facebook memories” was the first session that I ever did for them when they were just a family of 3. Now a family of 5, it’s been amazing watching their kids grow up in front of my camera! This is probably my most favourite session that I’ve ever done for them, and I’m sure you will be able to tell why when you see the photos!