Family Photos

26th July 2016

I don’t like to spend money on frivolous things.

My wardrobe is 90% Old Navy sale rack, I prefer the library to Amazon, and I shop three grocery stores, depending on sales.

But every year, at least once a year, I shell out several hundred dollars and force my family to pose for professional photos.


Nathan hates it, Topher tolerates it, and Ellie – well, I think she actually looks forward to it!  She’s a bit of a ham :)


My friend Lindsay started her own photography business when Topher was only a few months old, so she’s always been the lucky one who has to make my grumpy boys smile.  She’s gotten pretty good at it over the years – out of the 68 photos she edited for us this year, there were only 14 with silly faces/tongues sticking out!  (I don’t want to know how many she didn’t bother editing!)





I love how natural the photos are.  She always manages to catch a couple of the kids that are just so them, like Ellie with her cheeky little grin.  We see that expression every single day and it usually means she’s plotting something she knows she’s going to get away with because she’s so stinking cute.


And Nathan and Topher, acting like the goobers they are.  Somehow I can’t see them relaxing like that in the Sears Portrait Studio!


There was a whole series of silly face shots.  Maybe I’ll put those ones on our Christmas cards this year?

She even got some nice pictures of me with the kids!  I don’t always like the way I look in photos but there are so few family pictures with me in them that I treasure the ones Lindsay takes!


Now if we could only sell our condo so I could put up a gallery wall ….


Link Love

22nd July 2016


I can’t believe summer is already halfway over!  Topher spent the first two weeks of his vacation going back and forth to the doctor’s office with an awful bout of bronchitis.  He had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic he was on so the doctor decided it would be best for Topher to fight the infection on his own.  After ten days with a high fever, the poor little guy finally beat it – this mama’s heart wouldn’t have been able to take it much longer!  Since he’s recovered we’ve been spending as much time as possible outside, playing at spray parks and playgrounds, having picnics, and visiting with friends.

This week we’re preparing for our first family camping trip since Topher was a baby.  The kitchen table is littered with lists:  Groceries to buy, items to pack, camping equipment to organize.  I know we’ll have a great time so it will all be worth it, but I forgot how much work camping is!

I won’t be around for a few days, since I’m so busy stocking up on insect repellant and bear spray – so here are a few posts from some of my favourite writers.  Enjoy!

 * * *

I’ve loved every book Shauna Niequist has ever written, so I was super excited to see this excerpt of her latest book, Present over Perfect (which releases August 9th!), pop up in my reader.

Jenn’s post, Permission to Be, was a reminder that I need all too often in this season of life:  “Don’t rush.  Stop complaining.  Let it be.  All in the name of being here.”

Another great reminder?   A Mama Fesses Up by Katie Blackburn.  “It seems to me that there is a whole lot to be terrified about these days. But verbal abuse and judgement from other parents should not be one of them. Maybe the best thing we can do is get really honest with ourselves and admit that our parenting is marked with just as many failures as victories …”

I’ve never been one to write about current events.  I’m afraid to say the wrong thing, so I say nothing.  Annie F. Downs put into words what I couldn’t in her post, It’s My Problem.

I loved Jenn’s post, In Praise of the Small and Ordinary.  “What are we doing, bringing kids into this crazy, messed-up world?” she writes.  “We’re hoping they’ll make it a better place.

* * *

Do you camp?  What should I bring for food?

Missing My Mom

20th July 2016

A month after graduation, I packed my bags. I was allowed one suitcase and two carry-ons so I boxed everything else up, carefully winding tape around and around half a dozen boxes. I was looking forward to the cross-country move. Growing up in a small town, the goal had always been the same: Get out.  

And at first, I didn’t look back. Of course I missed my family and my friends, but I was looking to the future instead of the past. My eyes were set on the life I wanted to build for myself, not on the lives I had left behind.

Since then I have missed countless events:

Birthdays and Christmases.

Taco Fridays and pizza Mondays.

My maternal grandmother’s last months and weeks and days.

I missed her funeral …

And I missed visiting my mom in the hospital when she was there for an extended stay shortly after our wedding.

She has missed out too:

On my relationship with Nathan.

On the births of her grandchildren.

On birthdays and Christmases, concerts and celebrations.

She’s seen her grandchildren grow up on Facebook instead of in person, and only knows them through Skype.

* * *

Today is my mom’s birthday.

I’m missing it – but more than the party and cake and balloons and candles –

I’m missing her.


House Tour

18th July 2016

I don’t think I’ve ever shared a house tour on my blog.  What better time than when I have professional photos, courtesy of our realtor’s photographer?

Okay, so it’s completely bare and void of personality at this point in time, but this is our home:

This is the entryway.  I usually use the area above the shoe cubby as a sort of command centre, with a spot for Topher’s school calendar and backpack and whatnot.  I bought the awesome shelf from Legacy Studio back in 2012.


This is our dining area/kitchen.  We used to have all chairs but decided to invest in the benches after we realized how messy our children are.  White chairs, with kids?  What were we thinking?!?  


This is our kitchen.  It’s actually not a bad size – there’s tons of counter space and lots of room in the cupboards.



This is our living room.  I love the fireplace  but we rarely use it because a) Ellie is not very good at listening and won’t stay away from fire and b) It’s a pain to clean it out afterwards.  That lovely brown couch is Nathan’s most prized possession.  It’s more than 40 years old – his mom bought it before she married his dad, and Nathan somehow ended up with it as his inheritance.  Nathan loves his couch; my true feelings towards it will likely appear in a blog post at some point in the future.  Stay tuned!


This is our room.  It’s very brown.  I like colours, Nathan likes neutrals.  We kept it neutral for the photos.


This is the kids’ room.  Ellie is still in her crib with the side taken off so it’s almost a “big girl bed”.  We’re planning to buy her the same bed that Topher has once we move.  She already picked out her bedding!


This is the bathroom.  I don’t really have anything more to say about it.


This is our balcony.  It’s probably the main reason we bought the condo in the first place, apart from the fact that it was the nicest one we saw that we could afford.  The balcony is huge – it spans the entire length of the condo and overlooks a park.


And that’s about it!  Our little home.

If you want to buy it shoot me an e-mail.

Control – or Lack Thereof

14th July 2016


Nathan and I listed our condo last month.  Since then we’ve had a grand total of two showings.

It’s discouraging.

We’re not in a position where we have to sell – but two kids and a dog in a two bedroom condo is getting tight.  We have enough money for a down payment on a house in the neighbourhood we want to be in, the only problem is selling our condo.

We bought in 2008, three months before the “crash”.  After eight years of living here, if we sell it at the price it’s currently listed at, we’ll still be losing money.

Like I said, it’s discouraging.

I like to be in control.  Before we listed, Nathan and I spent a month and a half renovating.  Painting, cutting and installing new baseboards, replacing taps and molding.  We were motivated, certain that we were going to sell our place within the first week!

Unfortunately when it comes to selling houses, you can only control so much.  We made the place look as amazing as we could, we keep it spotless in case of an unexpected showing – but we can’t control what potential buyers will think.

I want to do everything in my power to help it sell quickly and for a good price, but I need to keep reminding myself that I’m not in control.

It’s scary.

It’s unsettling.

It’s stressful.

But I suppose it’s character building, isn’t it?

That darned old refining process …