I mentioned in an earlier post that it’s been such a hectic autumn that I’ve dropped the ball on blogging pretty much entirely. Case in point? I wrote this in early October and clean forgot to publish it! So hey, here’s something really amazing that happened two months ago:

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We’ve been talking about getting another cat for so long that I can’t even remember when we started talking about it. Maybe a year or so? It was always idle chatter, but Beloved and the boys would visit the kitties available for adoption every time they went out to get cat food for Willie, and sometimes just for something to do. At one point in the late spring, I started poking through the Ottawa Humane Society’s list of cats up for adoption and then following a couple of local cat rescue groups on Facebook.

We had two cats and a dog once upon a time, and it never seemed like a lot more work than one dog and one cat. Willie’s a lovely boy, but he’s not much interested in people, aside from Tristan. He sleeps with Tristan, purrs when Tristan pets him, and pretty much seems to tolerate the rest of us. Except the dog. He really does not like the dog and has chosen to live downstairs in the boys’ bedrooms and the basement to avoid her. And possibly to avoid me, as I’m quite sure Willie can smell the fact that I’m a dog person at heart and holds it against me.

We knew we wanted a female cat, so Willie wouldn’t be too traumatized by the introduction of a stranger into the house. She had to be old enough to be able to deal with Bella’s exuberance, but young enough that Willie didn’t see her as too much of a threat. We figured four to eight months would be a good age. And she had to be people-oriented. The last thing we wanted was two anti-social cats living in the basement!

During the summer, I saw a post about a litter of kittens that had been born at a shelter and were looking for homes. Louisa was a dark tortie, Sophia was a dilute tortie, and Kurt was a buff tabby. Kurt was skittish and not interested in visiting with us at all, but Louisa was calm and Sophia was playful. The boys nicknamed them “Cuddler” and “Motorboat” for Sophia’s outrageously loud purr every time you touched her. As we drove home, though, I worried. The kittens at 12 or so weeks old were so little, and so delicate, and Bella likes to chase things. I think the main reason Willie chooses to stay downstairs is because Bella so badly wants to play with him. I worried all night about what might happen with such tiny kittens. In the end, I told the cat rescue owner that we simply weren’t comfortable taking the risk.

Weeks went by. The kids went back to school. I kept watching the cats and kittens available for adoption, skimming their biographies to see if they were young, but not too young, good with kids and dogs, and not too skittish. About six weeks after we went to visit them the first time, the cat rescue page posted that skittish Kurt had been adopted, but that Louisa and Sophia had been moved to a different foster and were still waiting to be adopted. They were no longer the fragile babies we had seen, but sleek adolescents. We reached out again, and found out that cuddler Louisa had been adopted that very day, but spunky Sophia was still waiting for her forever home. We couldn’t resist a second time, and she came home to live with us this week.

Say hi to Sophia. Erm, I mean, “Lucy”!

Hello Lucy

That face, though!

We needn’t have worried about integrating the dog with the new kitten. We blocked off the kitchen with baby gates to give Sophia/Lucy a safe place to have her food and litter and bed for the first little while, but she chose to creep around the house checking things out. It didn’t take long for them to come face to face.

2016-10-05-09-05-45

Bella was curious but reasonably calm, probably because the cat was reasonably calm as well. At one point, Bella got a little too in Lucy’s face and Lucy let out a giant hiss and spit that scared Bella so badly that she wouldn’t even look at the cat for the rest of the evening, and that was it. If Lucy thinks Bella is too close, she pulls the arched-back angry-cat pose and Bella runs away like she’s been poked with a cattle prod. We laughed until we had tears running down our faces at how quickly little Lucy showed Bella who was in charge.

It didn’t take long for this to happen in my lap.

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Bella still isn’t sure what to make of Lucy. She’ll go out of her way to walk the long way around her most of the time, and she hasn’t reacted when Lucy gets kitten-brain and charges across the room at her. We’re trying to go more slowly with Willie, but they’ve seen each other on opposite sides of a baby gate and Willie seemed more perplexed than alarmed.

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So that was October. Shortly after I wrote (and promptly forgot to publish) this, Lucy realized that she could hide out downstairs with Willie and not have to deal with an idiotically exuberant dog that lurched at her playfully every time she saw her. The photos above were the last time Lucy lounged in the living room with us. We decided that we were not going to live in a house divided any longer, and after almost four years of keeping the dog out of the basement we removed the baby gate between the floors. Willie still only comes upstairs if Bella is in her crate, and while Bella stays more or less upstairs, when she does venture downstairs the cats hide under furniture and on high shelves. Lucy prefers to avoid the dog, but does come upstairs regularly if the dog is calm. We’re not exactly fully integrated, but I should have given the pets more credit and removed the gate years ago.

Just last night I was awoken by Lucy creeping around my pillow, her motorboat engine fully engaged. She’s not quite the lap cat I had hoped for (yet), but she’s a lovely girl who loves to be petted and have her belly scratched. She’s quirky and curious, and we’re all wondering what adventures await us when the Christmas tree makes its miraculous appearance in the living room next week. Stay tuned for more adventures with Lucy!


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Oh hey bloggy friends – long time, no see! Sorry I’ve been a little lazy with the blog updates this season. I’m just coming to the end of the most amazingly fun and busy photo season ever: I’ve had bookings, sometimes double and triple, almost every weekend since Labour Day. I’ve been so busy trying to keep things moving that I just didn’t have time to keep up my “photos of the day” habit. There have been lots of fun families and great stories, though, so as we settle in to the relatively calmer holiday insanity season (!) I thought I’d do some catching up.

I really enjoyed working with this fun local family, and we’ve since become friends. They moved just this year to Manotick, returning to Canada after a stint in Los Angeles, so we based our photos around Watson’s Mill.

Family photos at the Mill-6

Beautiful family, right? The light was soft and delicious on this day as late summer gave way to autumn’s colour, but it was the black and white that carried the moment here.

Family photos at the Mill

I like how the colours and style of their clothes are complemented by the industrial feel of the Mill and the weir.

Family photos at the Mill-5

This was my favourite shot of the day, and I have to admit, it wasn’t even my idea! She was actually taking a photo of the dad and kids and I was trying to catch it, and the dad was encouraging her to turn on the selfie camera as a joke. It didn’t quite work, but with a little photoshop magic I was able to make the shot.

Family photos at the Mill-2

Fun, right? If I haven’t made the families I work with laugh at some point during our photo sessions, I haven’t done my job right. I love this sort of playfulness! Add “sense of humour” and “court jester” to the ever-lengthening set of skills required to run a family photography business. Lucky for me, both of those come pretty easily to me. Now asking me to be serious for a minute – that one’s a bit more of a challenge. 😉


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October was a rough month for outdoor portrait photographers. At least one day of every weekend in October was rainy and cold, and I had to reschedule more sessions this year than ever before due to poor weather conditions. In fact, this lovely family and I had to reschedule not once, not twice, but three times between late September and early November. And when they did finally make it out to the porch on a day that wasn’t raining, the wind was fierce and cold. Lucky for me, they were happy to try to make things work with the help of a couple of blankets and the bit of shelter from the wind that the porch provides.

And hey, don’t the blankets make them look extra snuggly and cuddly?

autumn on the porch (1 of 5)

A couple of well-placed kisses helped warm things up, too.

autumn on the porch (3 of 5)

autumn on the porch (5 of 5)

autumn on the porch (4 of 5)

It was late summer and lovely when we first planned to meet for photos, and there were snow crystals in the feisty wind when we finally managed to meet, but I think this family’s sunny warmth and playfulness would shine in any sort of weather.

autumn on the porch (2 of 5)

It’s been such a busy portrait season that I haven’t had a chance to share any of the dozens of lovely families I’ve met this autumn – not only my busiest but my most weather-challenged season ever as well! I’m hoping to catch up now that the season for outdoor portraits, like the daylight, is waning. Stay tuned, I have lots of happy families and beautiful portraits to share!


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Welcome to one of my favourite holiday traditions! Welcome to the original and most comprehensive listing of all the Christmas, Holiday and Santa Claus parades for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario and West Quebec.

Can you believe we’ve been doing this post for eleven years? I’m a bit later posting this year’s list, and I can hardly believe that parade season is starting tomorrow! Here’s all the info I could scare up about the 2016 Santa Claus and Christmas parade line-up, in chronological order:

Photo of Santa Claus at the Christmas parade 2013

[click to continue…]


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It’s been such a ridiculously, insanely busy month that we ALMOST didn’t get the chance to go pumpkin picking this year. In the end, we decided a quick pick from the yard of Miller’s pumpkin patch would suffice, rather than going back into the fields to select our seasonal squash. And everybody in the family knows that it’s less about the pumpkins and more about the photo op, anyway.

Pumpkin picking 2016

Pumpkin picking 2016

We still had a little bit of fun playing around!

Pumpkin picking 2016

Pumpkin picking 2016

Pumpkin picking 2016

Tristan and his mini-me:

Pumpkin picking 2016

Something about the pumpkin patch always gives me great photos. Must be that soft October light. Or maybe it’s the handsome subjects? I may be biased here.

Pumpkin picking 2016

Happy Halloween!


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I don’t miss the commute home from working downtown, but this season especially I have really missed poking around on my lunch breaks with my camera. When I was invited to attend a conference at the National Gallery this week, I set my alarm to arrive extra early and give myself some time to creep around and enjoy some autumnal colour in one of my favourite places.

It was worth the lost sleep, wouldn’t you say?

Parliament Hill in Ottawa on an autumn morning

Apparently my theme of the day was framing things through tunnels of colourful leaves.

Photograph of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on an autumn morning

Seriously, though, those colours!!

Photograph of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on an autumn morning

I hiked my way up to Nepean Point not once but twice, but didn’t love the fall colour as much as I did when I was in Majors Hill Park, probably because the sun was rising opposite me and the colours weren’t as vibrant when they were backlit, to say nothing of all the fences and cranes from the Canada 150 upgrades. But I did love stumbling onto this photo of the intrepid shadow girl engaged in her ongoing pursuit of the perfect shot.

The intrepid shadow photographer hunts autumn colours!

We live in an amazingly beautiful city made even more breath-taking by the palette of autumn colours but… don’t blink or it will suddenly be winter. Sigh.


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Ontario Brings Locally-grown Produce to SUBWAY® Restaurants (sponsored)

20 October 2016 Eating and thinking and thinking about eating

Over the last few years, we’ve slowly been tweaking our family’s dietary habits. I’ve talked a lot about how I’ve learned to cook, and I try to make smart choices when I buy ingredients. This means choosing local and sustainable whenever possible. So when I heard that one of our family favourite places to eat, […]

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Photos of the day: Piano in the Park at Watson’s Mill

25 September 2016 Lucas

I had heard about Pianos in the Park, but didn’t realize until this week that they had installed a piano right around the corner from us at our favourite place. The Ottawa version of Pianos in the Park (apparently it’s an international movement) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing pianos to local parks. They’ve […]

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Photos of the day: Apple picking

17 September 2016 Ah, me boys

One of our favourite seasonal markers is our annual trip to a local orchard to pick apples. It looks like it’s been a great growing season, and when we visited last weekend, the boughs were heavy with ripe Lobos, Paula Reds and MacIntosh apples. As usual, we picked more than we could ever eat. Beloved […]

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The IKEA Sustainability Project

14 September 2016 Consumer culture

It’s time to throw back the curtain on a fun new project the family has been working on through the summer! We’ve been selected as participants in IKEA’s Sustainable Living project. Through the project, IKEA invited ordinary Canadian families to use their products to live life in a more sustainable way. What does that mean? […]

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