We Were There {November} | Blog Circle 2014

It’s been a crazy month.  SO CRAZY.  It’s technically December as I am writing this (hello 12:04 am!) and I only just took a photo of us today.  And I shouldn’t even post it.  But I was there!  All month I was there, and all month I was there doing it solo while Sean has been working like an animal out of town.  So, that deserves a photo, right?  Because I was there.

Sean has been working in Oshawa, which is just far enough away to effectively be across the globe.  It’s too far to travel home after his shifts, and so we’ve been having a long-distance marriage for the past few weeks.  And you know what?  Solo parenting sucks.

The kids got their progress reports and I met with their teachers, and (as usual) they are all awesome.  Nathan had to get his 4-6 year immunizations, which he was not happy about.  He also lost his first tooth this month!  Sean’s two sisters came to visit for a week with their two daughters, and it was really nice to have some adult company around for a while.  My nieces are both getting so big!  It’s hard to believe.  Miranda, Annie and I had a lot of plans to get out and mess around with our cameras, but it proved to be impossible with six kids to watch.  I did get a couple of cute ones anyway, though.

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Obviously, my adult supervision is not adequate.  Nathan and Alex redecorated the house this month with Crayola Marker (not the washable kind), pen, and permanent marker (why do we even still have these in the house?  You’d think that I would learn).  They were so pleased with themselves!  I guess that the bright side is that, since we live in a perpetual state of renovation, it really didn’t make the house look any trashier than it already looked.

(Gosh, we really need to spring for those baseboards!)  And you know what; these photos just sum up the sort of month that it has been.  Our upstairs toilet was clogged for days – I don’t know what was in there, but it took 4 days of plunging and snaking to send it off to sewer-land.  I exploded blue toilet bowl cleaner all over myself.  Our van needs yet another repair.

I thought that I needed a little pick me up this month, so I went for a hair cut.  And I asked for bangs.  And now I look like a pumpkin pie haircutted freak.  They are so short and goofy looking.  At least my hair grows fast, I guess!

And finally, we come to our family photo.  A more logical person would have gotten prepared for this.  It’s not like I didn’t know about it; I mean, we’ve been doing this for months.  But I haven’t been super logical this month.  I’m pooped, frankly.  We had fake moustaches in the house, and I wanted to get a photo of us wearing them for Movember.  Sean (hallelujah!) was granted one day off this month, and he drove home to spend the day with us.  He had just woken up because he’s on a night shift schedule, and he was going to have to leave again shortly to get back to work on time, so we grabbed all of the kids (some in pajama pants, and some in no pants), the moustaches, and a tablet.  Turns out that it’s super hard to get a selfie with 6 people in it.  So I rushed for my big-girl camera and I didn’t even check the settings.  (I’m tired, okay?)  I knew that we had about .75 seconds before the moustaches started coming off, so I just turned the camera on and let it go.  For some reason, the shutter speed was at something like 1/30 (I never leave it under 1/200!) and of course I hadn’t focused the camera.  Like, I said, I’m tired.

So it’s a hot mess.  But that’s what this month has been like.  That’s what the house is like.  It is what it is.  Happy Movember!

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Check out Michele’s (much, much more professional lol) family photos for the month here!

Ayshia and Misha | Wedding {Mansfield, On}

Back in August, I was lucky enough to accompany Love Bee Photography to a beautiful wedding at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre  in Mansfield, Ontario.  I am so excited to share this wedding with you, because I loved everything about it – the rustic and beautiful outdoor location, the whooping and laughing wedding party, the laid-back and friendly personalities of the bride and groom, and the excitement in the air.

Ayshia and Misha are the sort of people who you can become instant friends with, and their adoration of each other was palpable.  The entire day was so light-hearted, funny, and full of joy.  And, boy, were these two emotional!  It was laughter and tears, non-stop, the entire day.  It was impossible not to get swept up in the moment with them, even though we had only met that morning.  Ayshia and Misha were in their own little world as we captured their first look, their vows, and their first kiss.  (And also for the million other kisses – this couple liked to kiss a lot ♥).

Confession time: I got pretty misty-eyed during this ceremony.

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We Were There {October} | Blog Circle 2014

I don’t know what happened. October just got away from me. Excuses are boring, right? I know it, but I’m in over my head these days and so things fell by the wayside. You forgive me, right?

I knew that you would.

I’ll give you October’s run down now, albeit a little late. Sean and I have made progress on the house. Just a little bit, but it makes me happy. We (and by we, I mean he) finally got around to using the last of the flooring that we bought to replace the laminate at the landing. We’re still torn about what to do with the stairs. They’re in terrible shape and make so much noise, but we don’t have it in the budget to replace them. Last week I sanded (almost all of) them down and now we’re at a stand still again. We could finish staining them. Sean said he’ll go underneath them again and try to put more screws into the risers and treads to stop them from creaking as much. They’re still crap, but at least they aren’t filthy carpet any more.

Based on history, we should get to finishing that sometime around April. Stay tuned.

Sean’s been gone a lot again. I sort of forget what he looks like. But the winter is supposed to be really slow, so I guess we just have to grin and bear it for now.

We took a little trip back home for Thanksgiving. As usual, it was too rushed and I feel like we didn’t get to visit with any one much. I already want to go back again. Soon, hopefully. Sean lost his overtime shift this weekend, so probably not as soon as I’d like. On the bright side, that means he’ll be home this weekend, so I can remember what he looks like again.

Everyone got sick this month. Both Nathan and Sean ended up in emerg with severe abdominal pain. Not their appendix, and not their gall bladders. Just some crazy virus. All is well now.

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And Hallowe’en. Most of the boy’s cousins came to trick or treat with us, which was nice. It was kind of a wet, miserable day, but that didn’t seem to bother the kids. Well, not most of them, anyway.  Benjamin was the grim reaper, Jacob was a storm trooper, Nathan was Darth Vadar (or, as he calls him, “Dark Badar”) and Alex was Yoda.  Ben brought home a garbage bag of candy, which he has already demolished.  Lessons in moderation for next year, I guess?  Jacob hid all of his candy in his pillow case WITH his pillow and thinks that no one knows where it is.  Nathan forgot all about his candy approximately .45 seconds after they got home from trick or treating.  Jacob’s class performed the Thriller dance, which was awesome.  Even Grandma was here to see it.  We also spent a day at Snyder’s Farm and enjoyed the hay ride and overpriced popcorn.

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I had a great idea for a family photo for this month. Very fun and holiday appropriate. We didn’t get a chance to do it, though, with everyone sick and Sean working out of town so much. Like I said, the month got away from me. Maybe next year. All I have to share for this month are these, which aren’t anything special. Just a couple shots between mini sessions this month. I’ll try to do better for November.

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We Were There {September} | Blog Circle 2014

Alex has had a word explosion!  He’s been chatting for a while now, but around the third week of September the smattering of words became actual conversation.  And suddenly it’s not just a handful of words, either.  It’s like he learned English over night.  His favourite phrase at the moment is “Help me!”  All day (and some nights), it’s “Help!  Help me, mom!  Help me!”  Equal parts adorable and exhausting.  Other favourites are “My turn.”  “Thank you.”  “Cookie!”  “Drink, please.”  “Where’s dad?” and “Love you too.”

The three older boys are all back in school now.  Nathan goes full days for senior kindergarten.  Already I’ve had phone calls home to let me know that he’s cut himself with scissors or he fell while running with his hands in his pockets.  Luckily, he has the same teacher as last year, so she is familiar with his clumsiness.

Jacob has been anxious about having to learn to swim as part of his curriculum in grade three.  I’ll have to take him to the pool so that we can practice together.  He’s a worrier, and it breaks my heart when he is so nervous about things that it keeps him up at night.  I see so much of myself in him.  I wish that I knew how to encourage his confidence some more, but at the same time I’m not sure if I should just accept that he’s content to stay on the sidelines and not push him to try to be someone that he’s not comfortable being.

Ben is getting older all of the time.  He seems more like a teenager every day.  I wanted to take him to Canada’s Wonderland this summer, but the season got away from us.  I’m hoping that things feel less chaotic as Alex gets older, so that I can get a grip on the days and not have them slide by in great swaths like they seem to.

We took some photos for the start of the school year again.  I actually still have to do Nathan’s (and I’ll do Alex’s too, so he’s not left out).  I wonder how long the boys will let me keep doing this before they start protesting.  I’m going to milk it as long as I can.

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Sean has spent the bulk of this month working out of town.  I feel like I haven’t seen him in ages.  I hate when he is away.  He’s overworked this month, and feeling it.  We need a weekend away together, but that probably won’t be a possibility until at least Spring.  It’s getting harder to maintain the commitment to get these photos done every month with the kids so busy with school and Sean so busy with work.  I’ve been picking up the odd photography session, so there never seems to be a moment when everyone is free.  Still, we tried.

I drove to the Bay with the kids to visit my grandma this month.  She turned 96 on September 24th.  What an amazing lady.  I hope to be half as awesome at that age.  I’m not even half that awesome yet, so I’ve got some work to do.  I wish that we lived closer to our extended family.  I miss all of my aunts and uncles and cousins too.

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But I’m supposed to be in front of the camera for our family photo this month.  And so, without further ado … we were there.  Check out Michele’s entry here.

We Were There September

We Were There September

We Were There {August}| Blog Circle 2014

This month we (at least I, haha) wanted to take our family photo on my Grandma’s couch in her living room.  My favourite family photo from my childhood was taken on that couch many moons ago.

And so here are both – my favourite family photo from 1988, and (26 years later) the same couch, the same room, and my new family.

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We took this photo in the midst of our annual vacation at the cottage.  It was long overdue.  Sean works too hard and was in desperate need of a break.  I think he loves the cottage more than we do.  Already he is crushed that we won’t be back for another twelve months.

Ben is our water baby and spent the entire week in the lake.  Jacob and Nathan are more cautious around the water and are content to play on shore (Jacob with a life vest, always).  Alex is taking after Ben with his fearlessness, so I think Ben will finally have someone to swim with, aside from the grown ups.  The boys spent the week playing with their cousins, and we grown ups spent the week playing like kids.  Highlights of the week were tubing behind Ojo’s speedboat, canoe rides, riding the vintage bicycles that Sean unearthed in the garage, visiting with my Grandma (she’ll be 96 next month!), the guys competing over EVERYTHING, getting to play inside of a real OPP cruiser with the lights and sirens on, playing washer toss and card games, bonfires, fireworks and smore’s on the beach, and sending Mark paper lanterns for his birthday.

It’s hard to believe how fast the summer goes.  It’s already time to start thinking about school again.  The boys are starting to get anxious about it.  Mainly Jacob.  He’s the most likely to worry out of the bunch.  Grade 3 isn’t easy like Grade 2, he says.  It’s a big deal when you are eight years old.  He’ll no longer be considered one of the “little kids” at school.

Nathan turned five this month, and we celebrated with a space age party and outdoor movie at dusk at Uncle Luke’s house.  Jacob finally got his last spacer out at the dentist, much to his relief.  We finished tiling the floor in the upstairs bathroom, completing a project that should have taken two days in 4 weeks.  We like to pace ourselves around here.  I second shot two more beautiful weddings this month, alongside the amazing Bobbi-Jo of Love Bee Photography.  Ben, Jacob, Nathan, and I participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge, thanks to nominations from my cousin Jennifer and their cousin Sadie.

I also want to say happy anniversary to my husband this month.  You are my best friend in this world and my favourite person to spend time with.  I love you, and I like you.  ♥

BLOG IMG_4979BLOG IMG_5680It’s a small circle this month, but please check out Hope Davis Photography to see how her boys have grown.

We Were There {July}| Blog Circle 2014

As promised, I’m updating this post.  It wasn’t completed on time for the challenge in July, and actually the photo isn’t even from July.  And Sean is missing.  But we weren’t able to have a “full” family photo in July because Ben and Jacob were both spending the month in Northern Ontario.

And, in truth, I just couldn’t get in the spirit to take a family photo without them here.

So, on August 1st I drove half way to pick them up, with Alex and Nathan to keep me company (Sean had to work).  It was a long day, and with traffic, weather, and multiple accidents it was a nine hour ordeal before we were back at home.  And so, here is the photo that I am posting for July.  My not-really-in-July-and-not-even-my-whole-family photo taken with my cell phone in the parking lot.  But I like this photo, because I was just happy to have the boys together again and be bringing them home.

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I’m not even sure what to share about July.  We’ve been living in our house for a year this month, and for those 12 months we have tolerated the mismatched, cheap laminate flooring with it’s poor installation.  After work one day, Sean spontaneously pulled up all of the flooring on the main level – I guess 12 months is his tolerance limit for bad flooring.  Sean and Mike laid new floor (which I LOVE), but we still haven’t finished the bathroom.  Renovations go slowly here.

I photographed my second wedding in July.  Nathan finished off his season of T-Ball.  Annie and Brandon came to visit with their new baby, our neice, Ella.  I shadowed my first session with the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization. We went to a fish store and saw a fish as big as Alex.  Back in the Soo, we visited with my Nana and Poppa and my parents.  My whole family helped me to participate in a scavenger hunt that lasted the entire month (and, sadly, I did not win – but there is always next year!)

One day, while playing in the backyard, Nathan and Alex and I saw three yellow planes flying in formation and doing arial tricks over Woodstock.  Nathan was so impressed by them that I googled them and sent an email asking if they would be practicing again soon so that we could be on the lookout.  The Canadian Harvards Aerobatic Team contacted us back and invited us to a private viewing of their next practice.  Nathan got to sit in the cockpit, and we were so close to the planes when they took off that we couldn’t hear ourselves speak.

And since Sean didn’t get to come and pick up the boys with me, I’ll add in a photo of him with Nathan and Alex from July.

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Crystal and Kristien | Wedding {Sault Ste Marie, On}

I remember when I first started thinking about my own wedding, I entertained the idea of an intimate ceremony by candle light. Ultimately we went another direction, but I’ve always loved the idea. This month, I was lucky enough to photograph a romantic, late night wedding on the eve of a full moon.

Crystal and Kristien are the type of couple who will decide to give away their worldly possessions and move to Panama with their children. In fact, that is exactly what they are doing in a couple of weeks time. A traditional life is not for them, and neither was a traditional wedding. Instead, these two had a charming, intimate ceremony after dusk in a beautiful natural setting in Northern Ontario. The night featured bouquets of wild flowers, a roaring bonfire, and live music played by the groom’s own family inside of a gorgeous rustic cottage.

Dramatic overcast skies hid the full moon, but the rain that had been forecast for the day held off for the outdoor ceremony, as these two were wed while surrounded by their closest family and friends. I wish all the best to this super sweet couple, both in their marriage and in their adventures abroad. Send me a postcard from Panama!!  ♥

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We Were There {June} | Blog Circle 2014

School has wound down and come to an end this month. I’m grateful. I have a love/hate relationship with the structure that school imposes on our lives. On one hand, I know it’s good for all of us to have a routine. On the other hand, I’m just not great at routines.  Nathan is finished his first year of school.  It’s hard to believe how fast it went.

Sean’s work truck is so loud that you can hear it from inside the house with all of the windows closed. I love that I can hear the rumble of the truck coming down the street. It is a happy sound.  School buses are always getting my hopes up.

The days have gotten longer and warmer, and it’s almost easy to forget how long the winter had lasted.  We are slowly filling up our backyard – a sandbox, a trampoline, a little pool, swings, a badminton net, a basketball net.  Having a yard of our own is better than I had imagined.  But I keep fantasizing about how amazing it would be to have a proper pool back there.  A girl can dream.

On June 1st we went to the African Lion Safari and that is where we took our family photo for the month.  We just propped the camera up on the stroller and let it fire on a timer.  The kids were thrilled by the animals.  Jacob kept giving us names and details because he had gone with his class a couple of months before.  We didn’t realize that there was a little water park there – it would have been a perfect day to play there because it was sweltering out, but we didn’t bring a change of clothes or swimsuits.

Remy is making it difficult to finish this blog post because he keeps walking across the keyboard and nudging my hands, so I’ll wrap it up now.

ALSCollagePlease check out the rest of the circle, starting with my friend Kelly and her family photos from father’s day.  🙂

 

Christine and Derek | Wedding {Sault Ste Marie, On}

This month I made the 7 hour drive to Sault Ste Marie to photograph the wedding of Christine and Derek.  These two were so amazing and so much fun to photograph, and this was definitely the best time that I have had at a wedding aside from my own.  I loved spending the day with this group and capturing their special day.

I have known Christine for about two decades.  She is beautiful, full of energy, and adventurous.  I had only met Derek in passing, but it was easy to see that he complimented Christine perfectly.  He was quick to laugh, easy going, and genuine.  It was obvious that he adored her.  Whenever he looked at her, he couldn’t help but to smile.  Both Christine and Derek’s families were so wonderful, and their friends were so lively and full of laugher.  This couple is truly blessed.

I have so many photos that I want to share from their day and I had a hard time culling it down to just 50 or so.  Here are some of my favourites.

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Bella Ella ♥ | Fresh 48 {Sault Ste Marie, On}

On June 11, my sister in law gave birth to my beautiful niece Ella.  I felt so lucky to have been in town for her birth.  They had not found out if they were having a boy or a girl ahead of time, and so there was that iconic moment after Ella was born when my brother in law came smiling into the waiting room and announced “It’s a girl!” to the cheers of the family.  It was a tremendously exciting night!

This little darling was born weighing 9 lbs 12 oz.  Look at those deliciously chubby cheeks!!  My heart melts!

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