What do you say about the kind of family who discusses possible plans for growing a bamboo jungle in their back yard along side a pond to farm salmon? You say, ‘I sure am glad to call them friends!’ There’s never a dull moment when it comes to spending time with the Montour’s who buck predictability with gusto!
The Montours are a Renaissance kind of family. Life is meant to be explored, deep in the trenches, not idly passed by on the couch. This family has been dear to my heart for over 10 years now so you can imagine how excited I was when they commissioned me for a family portrait session.
Charles and Amy were just babes when they married as teen-agers and 17 years later their marriage is stronger than ever. They’ve ridden life’s storms together and managed to keep their marriage a priority through it all. Each new phase of life presents its challenges and each time they’ve risen to face those challenges squarely. You can see their girls are thriving and take great comfort in the firm foundation their parents have laid.
Charles’ journey as a father to two little girls has been a cool transformation to watch. When his girls were babies he, like many dads, was at a loss. How does a father connect to a baby in quality time??? As his girls grew he began to realize the significance of little things to his daughters and began to jump into these little things with full devotion. Charles realized his role as a father was calling him to step into his daughters’ lives in ways that related on their level and that was the key to connection.
This approach to life has led him into the world of women generally closed off to men. Charles knows more about how to give a manicure then I do! How? Because he googled it so he could spend time with his girls, one on one to guide them and connect in ways these girls will never forget! Every little girl should be so lucky!
While he has stepped into his girls’ world and is known as the cool dad in the neighborhood, he has also brought them into his passions---the great outdoors and mountain biking. The girls have competed in mountain bike races along side their father and mother already!
Charles’ tender affection with his girls is the fertile soil from which these girls are growing. This does not happen by accident, but by deliberate decisions to make his family a priority. He realizes the memories he is making with his daughters far outweigh the demands that would pull him away.
How in the world these girls will ever date, I have no idea! I say random prayers for his heart not too break too badly when this phase of life starts! Charles jokes he’s going to attach On-Stars to them and hire friends to tail them to make sure they are safe. He says he’s joking….!
Parker, or P-Bats as she’s affectionately known to me, is one of the coolest kids you’ll ever meet. Strong willed, passionate, compassionate and about the least self-conscious person I’ve ever met. She’s just comfortable in her own skin, which is such a rare and precious trait. Her love of animals convicted her to start a vegetarian diet about 2 years ago and she’s never looked back. The fridge is stocked with Fakin Bacon, Tofurkey and Veggie dogs. When every other child is scooping up animals from the wild and begging to take them home, she’s trying to return them to their home so they won’t miss their family.
Luka, or Love Monkey as she's affectionately known to me, has a smile that warms a soul down deep. She’s the fashionista of the family and the comedian who keeps everyone laughing. On a DiDio/ Montour camping trip her tent started blowing over while all the parents were enjoying time around the fire till late into the night. How did we know the tent was blowing over? We heard Luka yelling, ‘I’m getting dizzy…I’m getting dizzy!!!!
Parker’s passion convicts us and makes us want to be a better person; Luka’s sense of humor brings a smile to our faces and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.
Amy <3. When you find a friend who challenges you in this like minded Renaissance pursuit of life, you hold her very close to your heart. Amy’s the kind of friend who accepts you wherever you are and doesn’t make you feel like you need to be anyone else. She challenges everyone she meets to laugh more, dream big and pursue God. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard her say, ‘why not?’ to the latest idea she’s shared which sounds crazy to everyone else but she just might make happen!
Amy’s sweet friendship has been an invaluable source of strength over the years. We have shared our struggles as mothers, wives, and being women in general. We’ve duplicated famous recipes and encouraged each other to keep in hot pursuit of all this life would offer us. We look forward to being older when one day life’s demands may ease up a bit and we can talk without being pulled in 12 directions!
On camping trips Amy can be found cooking salmon and brownies in a home made box oven. She has home made vanilla brewing in her cupboards, scars from mountain biking, and a pickling station set up for the home grown cucumbers coming in! She is a consistent champion for her girls and encourages them to grow into the beautiful young women they are becoming. She’s all over the place & all around awesome!
P-Bats & Love Monkey---you are indeed very blessed little girls! I love you Montours and here’s to our next 5 years of family camping trips! And many, many more!