From the category archives:

Ah, me boys

We stood in line for two hours for our turn. They ran out of hot dogs at the concession stand and I had foolishly not thought to pack any food. And yet, we all agreed – the wait was well worth it. For what? To decorate and then launch our pumpkins across a field to a giant billboard target using a medieval catapult called a trebuchet at the annual Smashing Pumpkins festival at the Cumberland Village Heritage Museum.

First, you decorate while you wait for your turn.

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Simon’s says, “I have a death sentence” on one side and “Simon wuz here” on the other.

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Not to be outdone, Tristan’s says “I believe I can fly.” (I do love their senses of humour, my boys.)

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

After almost an entire afternoon of waiting, it was finally our turn!

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

You yank on the cord, which pulls out the pin, which releases the lever that is counterweighted on the opposite end. Gravity works its magic and the non-counterweighted end of the lever flings the pumpkin, tucked securely into a little hammock, to sail across the field toward the target.

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

After each launching one, I let the boys launch mine together.

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Can you see the incoming pumpkin?

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Bulls-eye!! (Ahem, this may or may not have been MY pumpkin. We watched probably a hundred pumpkins get launched, and I was thrilled to capture this photo of one of the ten or so we actually saw hit the bulls-eye!)

A 10 photo essay on pumpkin smashing

Is that crazy fun or what? Beloved is Googling “backyard trebuchet” so we don’t have to wait in such a long line next year. Sorry neighbours – you’ve been warned!

Disclosure: The City of Ottawa is a sponsor of this blog. This adventure was inspired entirely by our own whims, however, and we bought our own annual membership to facilitate this blog post.


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It was a madly busy but wonderfully photogenic September, and I’m just now starting to catch up. Back a few weeks ago, we went apple picking at one of our favourite places, the Log Cabin Orchard near Osgoode.

I was delighted to capture three very different portraits of three very different boys. Each pose and set-up seems perfect for their personalities. You’d almost think I was getting good at this photography thing, to say nothing of this mothering thing. Who knew?

Apple picking 2014 1

Apple picking 2014 2

Apple picking 2014 3

They’re all so lovely, though, aren’t they? Handsome young men, my babies have become.


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Summertime shenanigans in the back yard!

Silly string

I’ve got mixed feelings about the end of summer, but love that I get to spend this last week of it in the sunshine with my boys.


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About a week or two into the World Cup, Simon came home asking for a soccer ball called a Brazuca. He and his friends played World Cup soccer each day at recess, rotating who would be each country, and he wanted to play at home, too. My suggestion that he play with one of the 47 other types of ball we have stashed around the house was met with disdain. He really, really wanted a Brazuca.

I had put it on the vague to-do list that always runs in the back of my mind. If the boy wanted to play soccer, and buying him a soccer ball got him outside and moving more, I figured an official ball was a small price to pay. Imagine my delight, then, when that very week my contact through the Rogers Mobile Ambassador program mentioned she had a few official Sony World Cup soccer balls to share – did anyone want one? I think I may have replied in all-caps, I was so excited. Me me me me me, please!

It arrived when we were in PEI, but the boys have made good use of it ever since.

World cup fever

Simon loves it, and has called his school mates several times this week to see who wants to play soccer up at the school. Thank you Rogers and Sony for making me the coolest mom on the block – for this week, at least!


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It’s the end of an era. Sniff sniff. The last year all three boys will be in the same school together.

first & last day of school

First and last day of school

First and last day of school 2011-2012

188:365 First and last day of school 2010 - 2011

Sigh. Tomorrow I’ll be happy for summer. Today, I’m feeling sort of blue, thinking that sometimes time runs a little too quickly…


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Tristan’s grade school graduation

by DaniGirl on June 21, 2014 · 1 comment

in Tristan

Remember this? Tristan’s first day of school. Doesn’t it seem like it was just last week?

And then yesterday, this happened: Grade 6 graduation.

Grade 6 graduation

It was the most lovely day. The school thoughtfully thought to include as many younger siblings in day as possible, so Simon was asked to be an altar server during the mass. The lovely teachers wrote a few personal thoughts about every single graduating child to share as they received their diplomas, and every time I managed to stop the tears that were freely running down my cheeks, one of the teachers on stage would start crying and set me off anew. It was truly a lovely, memorable affair.

When I was looking for Tristan’s first day of school photo for this post, I laughed out loud when came across the blog post I wrote on his first day of school back in 2006. I wrote:

Tristan occasionally tends toward the stoic, and when I peppered him with questions about his day, he answered my excitement with a casualness bordering on blase.

Did you have fun? Yep.
Was the teacher nice? Yep.
Did you play with the other kids? Uh huh.
What did you do? Oh, you know. A craft. I made a school bus.

A school bus. He made a school bus. My son, the artist.

My son, the artist indeed. Guess who won the Creative Arts Award for his graduating class?

Grade 6 grad

My son, the artist AND the graduate. You read it here first. :)


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Easter eggs 2014

18 April 2014 Ah, me boys

Beloved asked me, as I was mixing the dye for the eggs with the water and vinegar, if I’d still be taking photos of the boys colouring Easter eggs when they were in their twenties. Of course, I replied. That’s the point.

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We Day is coming back to Ottawa!

3 April 2014 Ah, me boys

Next Wednesday, 16,000 students and educators from 420 schools throughout Canada will be gathering at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa to mark Canada’s National We Day 2014. For the third year, TELUS is partnering with Free The Children as National Co-Title sponsor of We Day, and they’ve invited Simon and I to attend the [...]

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A love letter to Tristan, age 12

7 March 2014 Tristan

My dear darling Tristan, today you are twelve years old! Tristan, you are a curious, creative, thoughtful boy with a delightfuly dry and wry sense of humour. You are warm and affectionate, shy but loyal, and full of deep thoughts. You are always a wonderful companion and I enjoy spending time with you. It seems [...]

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A love letter to Lucas, Age 6

8 February 2014 Lucas

My dear, sweet Lucas, today you are six! years! old! Sweet Lucas, you are an adorable kid. You are warm and affectionate and love to share kisses and hugs, not only with your mom and dad, but grandparents and teachers, too. You draw beautiful artwork woven with expressions of “I love you mom” written right [...]

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