Letters to our Daughters #4

Here’s another instalment in the “Letters to” series. I hope you enjoy these little glimpses into life with my crazy crew! I know I’m really enjoying getting to know the other photographers in the circle through our letters. I hope if you have a moment you’ll click through to the link at the end of this post to see what they’re up to too.

Ottawa Area Children's Photography

Dear Chublet,

It’s been a while since you’ve had a letter all to yourself, so let’s fix that now. We spend a lot of time together, you and I, and even though I whisper “I love you” in your ear and gobble up your tummy and zrbtt that spot at the nape of your neck there’s still a lot that’s left unsaid…

We just got back from our first big adventure as a family of four when we went to England for two weeks. I’ll write a full post about that, for sure, but I want you to know how proud we were of you on the trip! You were really great on the flight on the way over, and you put up beautifully with all the train travel we did while there.

Travels by Train

You slept well, and you got along with your brother, and you really enjoyed yourself! Hooray! I know that in time your memories of the trip will leave you, replaced by new memories of new experiences, but with any luck the photographs of the trip will at least let you see and appreciate all the fun we had. Oh, and don’t expect photos of our flight home… that’s when you decided you’d had enough. I’m afraid you turned into THAT KID on the flight. Yup- squirming, pinching, shouting, seat kicking, messing with your brother… then howling at the top of your lungs! Oh man. I think the rest of the people on the plane must have wanted me to smother you! You finally fell asleep on me for an hour or so, and I was so worried that you’d wake up that I let my arm and my hip fall asleep! Whew! I’ve never been so happy to be home… Good thing we love you! 😉

Lately you’ve been fascinated by beauty routines. You watch me putting on makeup and want to do the same, and you even steal away to go rummaging through my makeup case! You really really really want to wear nail polish, and were delighted when we found some nail polish that I’d let you wear. It’s non-toxic, it peels off so I don’t need to use nail polish remover, and best of all? It has Hello Kitty on it!! But would you let me do your nails for you? Oh no… you had to do them yourself. I’ve scarcely seen you so determined!

This is so her. Top pulled down around her waist, hair everywhere, filthy hands and nails after digging in the dirt, but she's putting on nail polish, and working really hard at it!

Finally, just before going away we had you get your first hair cut. I was pretty nervous about how you’d take to it, but I needn’t have worried at all. You loved it! Mind you, what kid wouldn’t? We went to Pretty Handsome, and let me tell you they have it all figured out. Really cool chairs to sit in, bubbles for you to blow, and an iPad for you to play on! Total luxury, kid-style!

First Haircut at Pretty Handsome

And the best part? You loved your new haircut. Bliss!

Happy Haircut at Pretty Handsome

We’ve been having a lot of fun this summer, and a lot of new experiences, but also, alas, some bummer times too. You were so sick last week, and fell asleep just about anywhere. I have to admit, as awful as I feel for you when you’re sick, I do love the quiet times that are so rare around here. Especially when you fall asleep on the couch in some lovely light.

Sleepy Girl

I love you love you love you my girl, and always will.

Mum xoxo

As I said above, if you have a moment I invite you to have a click around our little circle. You can start with Sara of Sugar Lens Photography in Newmarket!

Till next time…

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Letters to our Sons #5

Ottawa Children's Photographer

Dear E,

What a crazy spring we’ve had! With all the goings on for the end of the school year, the start of spring/summer sports leagues, museum sleepovers, your dad travelling, me travelling, changing weekends around, an AWESOME new haircut and your sister’s constant crazy toddler hijinks it’s impressive that we’re still holding it together. And now we’re looking at packing up the four of us to travel to England for two weeks! Can you believe it! You’ve never been overseas before, so I wonder if you’re ready for what’s coming… lol.

You spent the first eight years of your life as an only child, with no family in the city other than mum and dad. Nanny and Pappa were in Montreal, almost two hours away, your aunt and uncle were in Vancouver, on the other side of the country, and your dad’s family was out that way too. Now that Nanny and Pappa are only an hour away, and your aunt and uncle are back in Ottawa and have a son of their own, and you have a little sister I think you’re starting to understand a little more about family. The thing is though, that there are all sorts of people in England who are our family too! Some of them by blood, and some of them by choice. It’s lovely when someone is so wonderful that they get the honorary title Aunt or Uncle, isn’t it! We won’t have nearly as much time to see everyone as I’d like (there never really is enough time, is there?), but I hope you’ll start to see that we have threads connecting us to people who care about us on the other side of the ocean. It’s a very nice feeling to know that there are people out there who, although we don’t necessarily keep in touch as well as we should, and although we don’t see them very often, are family and will be thrilled to see us. Get ready for lots of hugs…

Outside of sessions for clients I’ve barely had my camera out these last couple of months, so the photographs of you (and your sister, never fear…) are few and far between. They’re mostly just snapshots, too. You’ve had a really great spring baseball season though, and your team made it to the finals of the playoffs (with you in their pitching lineup! Way to go!!), so I made sure to get at least a couple of shots of you playing. This is one of my favourites. The ball has left your bat and is still in the frame, and your eye is still watching where it’s going. And you look so intense!

Glebe Children's Photographer

I also made sure to pull out the camera for what is arguably to coolest thing you’ve done so far this summer… Fly Day! The last chance to wear your Cub uniform was a blast. You got to fly an airplane! You were so excited, and I know you had a ton of fun. You talked about it for days! I must admit I was a little jealous, but I’m so glad you did it. You’re my flying ace.

3rd Year Cubs Fly Day

I love you lots and lots and lots my kiddo, and I always will.

Mum xoxo

If you have a minute, I’d love for you to leave a comment to say hello, and please to click over to Sara’s blog to read her letter to her son. She’s another Ontario photographer living in Newmarket. She’s lovely and very talented, so I recommend stopping by!

Till next time…

Letters to Our Sons #4

Fun Ottawa Kids Lifestyle Photography by Closely Knit Photography

Dear E,

Spring has sprung! Hooray for that! We’ve all spent so much time in close proximity to each other through the winter that now we all seem to be stretching out our arms and throwing our heads back to soak in the sun and breathe deeply. What a relief.

This is just a short note this time, since with the coming of spring there has been A LOT to do outside to make up for the lack of prep we did before winter, and not a lot of time to sit and write. I’ll come up with something better next time, I promise! I secret handshake swear!

I got to stick around and watch you play tennis last weekend, which was so cool! Normally it’s a Dad thing, but since I didn’t have to be at the pool I took the chance to take my camera to catch you in action. Of course that meant you were being silly, but that’s ok- I know you were having fun. I just wish I had thought to take my longer lens…

Playing Tennis in the Carleton Bubble

I’m really looking forward to when you start playing in the spring baseball season, too. I know you love that, and I am sure that this year will be great! You were so proud of yourself when at the tryouts you caught EVERY fly ball that came your way, since last year the fly ball was your nemesis. You’ll get it this year for sure! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s tennis time now… maybe this year you’ll convince me to get out onto the court with you?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I’m not so sure! With that stroke you’re sure to “crush [me] like a grape”…! Yes, even though you’re goofing around with some weird backhand action in that shot. It won’t be hard. Just ask Nanny… 😉

Love you love you love you my great big kid. Always will.

Mum xoxo

If you liked this little letter to my boy, please head over to Becky’s blog to read her letter to her little man Sebastien. It looks like they had a lot of fun this Easter! Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to leave some love in the comments.

Till next time…

Keepin’ it REAL!

Real life. Real love, real joy, real emotion… A group of truly amazing photographers who I met through the Pinkle Toes Alums have decided to get together through our blogs each month to explore what’s REAL to us. For our first go at this we’ll have a look at Real Life. I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this lovely group of girls. This is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to see what everyone posts…

Our Real Life

Ottawa Children's Photographer

Real life in our family, as with so many families, is a combination of careful planning (maybe not as much as there should be!), utter chaos, fun, not so much fun, and lots of love. Okay, and the occasional “Why did we have kids?” moment, but the love always wins out! Of course, here in Ottawa, our “fun” for the last few weeks has been watching Mother Nature s.l.o.w.l.y sweep winter out of the way… Sound like watching paint dry? It sort of is! Only it’s a lot more exciting if you’re 2 and you can watch sticks float down the river of runoff at the end of your driveway.

Lifestyle Child Photos Ottawa

It’s even better if your brother gets into the excitement as well, and helps by creating dams and waterfalls along the way. And listening to the ice lumps land in the water at the bottom of the drain? That’s the BEST!

Lifestyle Family Photographer Ottawa

Neither of my kids are particularly interested in smiling for the camera (especially that scruffy little one with her boots on the wrong feet!), so I suppose Real Life in this sense also means a post full of photos of them not looking at the camera. But that’s ok with me. Kids need to be allowed to be themselves even when the camera comes out- maybe especially when the camera comes out! Some of my absolute favourite photos of my two are when they’re not looking at the camera, or when they’re not smiling. There’s something much more genuine about them. Don’t get me wrong, I need the beautiful full face smiling ones too, but these are all about seeing who they really are, right now. And really, how much fun are they going to be to look back on in the future? So much fun!

If you’d like to have me capture some Real memories of your kids and family, I’d love for you to get in touch. We’ll put together a session that’s just perfect for you!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my Real Life. I encourage you to continue on to Kami’s blog at Kami Friday Photography to read about her Real Life down in New Hampshire. She’s such a talented photographer, I’m sure you’ll love her post, too.

‘Till next time…

Letters to our Sons #3

Ottawa Children's Photographer

Dear Kiddo,

I love it when you let loose and show your silly side! I was watching you play with your sister this morning, and it dawned on me that I while I have been trying to be more present in your lives these last few months (rather than always having the camera in front of my face), I was missing what would be some wonderful evidence of the relationship that you two are building!

Ottawa Children's Photographer

Our Chublet is so in love with you. She asks for you every day; when she wakes up in the morning, when she gets up from her nap, and whenever I mention going to get groceries. “We’ll go and get groceries-” she’ll say, “And then we get E!”. If she sleeps late in the morning and misses seeing you before you get on the bus for school (at 7:15am… Yikes!!) she’s really bummed. And I know you can hear her from outside when she starts squealing as she realises you’re home from school!

Ottawa Children's Lifestyle Photographer

The best part, as far as J is concerned, is that you’re up for just about anything… as long as it makes her laugh! I still can’t make her laugh like you do. But you know? I’m so glad of that! I love that you have a special power. Isn’t that the best thing about brothers?

I think this last photo is my favourite of you two from the last little while. I love that Hurricane J is running around you like a crazy orbiting satellite while you sit serenely in the centre of her chaos.

Ottawa Children's Lifestyle Photographer

I’m not sure if you really know how much I love and appreciate how great you are with her, and what a lovely relationship you’re building with her. You’ve had a lot of changes and upheaval to deal with in your life, and I worried when I was pregnant with The Peanut that this might not go so well. After all, you did ask me once before she was born “Why did we decide to have a Peanut…?” You’ve such a gentle soul, and I should have known that you would shine in your role as Big Brother. I’m so proud of you.

Love you love you love you my kiddo, and always will.

Mum xoxo

It’s blog circle time again! I’d love you to head over to Sara’s blog to read her letter to her son. And please leave some love here in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! Till next time…

Letters to our Sons #2

Ottawa Children's Portrait Photographer

Dear E,

It’s 2014! As you told me recently, this is the year you’ll turn 11. It’s a funny year, this, as you’re growing up and getting older, but there’s still a lot of the younger you to be seen beneath the mop of long hair (still haven’t convinced you to cut it shorter, have I?). You’re playful, which our Chublet just loves, getting her to chase you in circles around the kitchen and living room (which I’m not so fond of…) or getting down on the ground and  building towers out of Duplo or racing Playmobil cars until the cows come home. J is still your number 1 fan, and looks up to you with big wide eyes.

Ottawa Children's Lifestyle Photographer
Ottawa Children's Lifestyle Photographer

You’ve been through some big changes this year, with your first year of summer league baseball and a week (far) away at baseball camp, a switch to a new school, and not to mention learning to manage having a toddler in your space; I have to tell you you’ve impressed me so much with how you’ve dealt with the new challenges!

Watching you navigate your move to a new school, leaving your friends behind and starting something new, unknown, and certainly more challenging, has made me so very proud of you. I don’t think you really knew what you were in for with the switch. You’ve had to pick yourself up from a few stumbles, but I love that now you don’t give up. Where you used to get so down on yourself and be convinced that you just couldn’t get something, now you see that yes, maybe you made a mistake, but you can correct it and keep going. I love seeing you grow in your self-confidence! And I’m so grateful to your teachers for helping you to see your potential.

Ottawa Children's Photographer

You had so much fun working on that photo! My Love I have so much more I could say, but I’ll save it for another letter. For now just know that I love to you pieces, and I always look forward to your hugs even if they threaten to break me in half! It won’t be long before you really can pick me up off the floor, but if you don’t mind, could you pretend for a while longer that that’s not the case? You’re growing up so fast, and I’d like to hang on to the “little” you as long as I can.

Ottawa Children's Lifestyle Photographer

I love you love you love you, for always,

Mum xoxo

I’m pleased to be part of a blog circle of photographer mums of sons. I invite you to click on over to Jodie Faulder’s blog, all the way over in New Zealand, to read her letter to her little man! You can find her letter here. And do join in on the conversation in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! Till next time…

The Pinkle Toes Experience! | Ottawa Newborn and Family Photographer

In August I had the opportunity to join a group of photographers in a workshop with the wonderfully warm and very talented Michele Anderson of Pinkle Toes Photography from Austin, TX. When I heard she was coming up to Toronto how could I pass it up?! We spent 2 days immersed in her universe, doing 3 full sessions on the Friday- a newborn in the morning, a family session in the afternoon and an urban maternity session in the evening- and a full day of Behind-the-Scenes work on Saturday. I came away from the workshop feeling refreshed, challenged, and full of ideas!

Ottawa Newborn Photographer

Michele is one of those rare people who make you feel comfortable and welcome right from the word go. She and her mum, the amazing MeeMaw, felt like my old friends. Despite the craziness that they went through to get here, arriving a day late and not having the prep time they had banked on (travel horror stories? They’ve got ’em!) they both were bright and funny and a lot of fun to be around.

Ottawa Family Photographer

Michele’s work is full of colour and life. You can see the fun and feel the pull of the love between the people in her photographs. During the workshop we learned about her process, how she runs her sessions, and how she runs her business, but I think it’s the more intangible things that I’ll remember most.

Ottawa Maternity Photographer

Thank you, Michele, for sharing your passion and your knowledge with us! I look forward to following your work and putting into practice the many many ideas I have swirling around in my head. I hope we meet again! xo

‘Till next time…

You can see Michele’s post about the workshop here. Go on and check it out! And be sure to have a look at the other attendees’ websites. We had an amazing group of photographers…

Also, a BIG thank you to Melissa of Simply Said Photography for working so hard to host our workshop!! Muah! xo

Happy birthday Big Kid! [Ottawa Arboretum Family Photo Session]

One Year Old Family Session

It’s catch-up time on the blog! Hooray! What better place to start than with a recent family session?

I’ve been lucky enough to count these guys among my good friends for years and years now, so of course I jumped at the chance to spend a morning with them to do a family session to mark their little guy’s 1st birthday. The weather didn’t cooperate but they were real troopers. Despite the threat of a huge storm and the dull cloudy day we had so much fun! There is so much love in this family, and their little dude is a growing into a really neat little man. Happy birthday J!

1 year old photo session

Letters to our Daughters #3

Dear Chublet,

Ohmygod you’re changing SO. MUCH. Where did my scowly, grumpy, pick-me-up, put-me-down, hug-me, don’t-touch-me, pay-attention-to-me, don’t-look-at-me little girl go? She’s still in there, to be sure (we still see glimpses…), but now you’re letting on that you’re also a great big softie! Over the last month or so you’ve started to throw your arms around our necks and really hug tight. You interrupt me while I’m singing to you at bed time so that you can hold me by the ears and pull my face to yours, then shake my head side to side so that we can rub noses! You plant big sloppy drooly kisses right on my mouth, and you’ll hold my face in your hands while I’m holding you and grin at me- your little pursed mouth, scrunched nose, shoulders up grin that says I Love You. You’ve discovered the comfort and security of a favourite blankie- the beautiful beautiful quilt that Nanny made for you goes to bed with you for naps and nights, and you look so sweet all rolled up in it. Nanny will be thrilled when she sees it for herself! That’s one photograph that I have to be *sure* to take. You with your quilt. I must not forget.

Now as I said, there’s no doubt that you’re still my Thunder Baby, with a mind of her own and definite ideas of how the world should run, and how your staff should look after you. Diaper changes are still a fight (what? Stay on my back? Are you CRAZY??), and meals can be trying for all involved (if you could just tell me what you will eat I’ll make it for you. I promise! No need to pitch the food on the floor if you don’t like the look of it…). I know you don’t like to be bored, but didn’t some parenting expert somewhere say that it’s good for kids to learn to entertain themselves? No…?

For quite some time now you’ve shown your appreciation of and aptitude for music, and over the last couple of months I’ve so loved watching you find different ways to express it. You regularly sing, with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the La La Song topping the charts for you. The thing that amazes me is what precise pitch you have! You even sing in the same key as I sing to you. Anyone who hears you knows exactly what you’re singing, even though the words are replaced with Da Das, Nu Nus and La Las. It’s so cool! We’ve been having fun the last couple of weeks watching So You Think You Can Dance, too. You’re mesmerised by the dancers and the way they move. You bop in time with the music, and if it’s a dancer you really like you’ll get your wiggle going too! It’s clear that you love to sing and dance since applause from your fans makes you break out into the biggest grin. It’s so sweet!

As we thought in Arizona, you most certainly are a Sun Baby! As the weather has warmed up over the spring we’ve had lots of opportunity to get out in the garden, dig in the dirt, draw with the sidewalk chalk (“T! T!!”) and even go for a paddle in the canoe. Yay! (Oh how I love the water- I really hope it’s a love we can share as you grow older.) We’ve discovered that you’re very fond of drawing, and we can never leave the house without you making at least one good scribble with the chalk on the front steps. You’ve also been going to town with crayons on the drawing easel we have in the house, though I do wish you’d keep it to the easel and not decorate the walls, floors, furniture and the papers from my office! I can’t get over how far and how high you can reach! It’s pretty cool, too, that at 18 months you picked up a pen and held it “properly”, and have done ever since. You’re very precise. I wonder if you are holding back on using words until you know for sure you’ll have them right? I wouldn’t be surprised!

I think every parent of a toddler watches the emerging personality traits of their littles and wonders what the future will hold for them. Watching you, you could be a singer or a dancer, or you could use your stubborn and persistent streak to carry you through law school or med school, or you could run your own small business… Maybe you’ll fight for the rights of the little guy, or maybe you’ll be the classic “Starving Artist” type, too committed to your work to give up on your dreams to make a living off art. Who knows what the future holds for you? Just know that whatever it is my Love, we’ve got your back. Your dad and I will love you and support you no matter what you do. We just hope you listen to your heart. I have this quote up in my office, and I feel like I’m living it through photography. I think you (and your brother, too) should keep it in mind as you go:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Harold Thurman Whitman

I’m having so much fun watching you come alive, Sweet Pea. For sure, there are days I want to hide in the pantry and not come out, but there are also days of absolute wonder and delight. Days of discovery, and days of snuggles, cuddles and nose rubs. And when it all comes out in the wash, those days more than make up for the hide under the covers and pretend I’m not here days. Like that photograph up at the top of this post. That photograph makes my heart swell and puts a lump in my throat. It was taken on one of the really great days. We had had a lovely afternoon playing in the garden, and lots of kisses. You were quietly watching the birds at the feeder, or maybe a squirrel, and I was finally able to capture your curls. Those soft baby curls. That photograph reminds me of the smell of you, and the warmth of you, and that perfect afternoon. And my girl, it reminds me of how much I absolutely love you to pieces. You’re one of a kind, and I’m so glad you’re ours.

Love you love you love you my Sweet Pea. Always and forever,

Mum xoxo

I invite you to click through to Susie’s blog to read what she has written to her son. Thanks for stopping by!