Ah, me boys

Photo of the day: Contentment

by DaniGirl on February 4, 2016 · 0 comments

in Lucas, Photo of the Day

It was early in the morning. I was reading my newspaper and drinking coffee, and I looked up and found them like this:

Plugged in

She’s happy to cuddle, he’s happy to play, I’m happy to get an adorable photo. Everybody wins.


Photo of the day: Simon is 12

by DaniGirl on February 2, 2016 · 1 comment

in Photo of the Day, Simon

Simon is twelve! To celebrate, we had a birthday dinner at Lone Star:

Simon's birthday

While I’ve been making a lot of black and white photos lately because I’m interested in the expressive qualities of monochrome, in this case I just needed to overcome the nearly insurmountably wicked colour casts from the purple and orange neon lighting. This is what it looked like straight out of the camera:

Simon's birthday SOOC

(I love Granny and Papa Lou smiling off to the side!)

Note to self: no portrait sessions at Lone Star. Great food, terrible lights! Also, did you know you can bring your own cake and they’ll bring it out? Great service, and a very happy birthday dinner. :)

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A love letter to Simon, Age 12

by DaniGirl on February 1, 2016 · 0 comments

in Simon

My dearest, darling Simon, you are twelve years old today!

Simon, you are bright, quick, quirky and good-hearted. Despite your age, you are my teenager, pushing boundaries and taking miles when inches are given. And you get away with it because you could charm the scales off a snake.

Simon in the snow

You love tacos, Lone Star, hamburgers, Subway, pasta, and anything that your dad bakes. You are interested in cooking and baking, but mostly you are just developing an appreciation for good food well prepared. I’m mindful of how much more open-minded you are to all foods now, but especially to the fruit and vegetable variety.

Fun at Brackley Beach, PEI National Park

These are the words that make up your world: Minecraft, groupchat, Skype, YouTube. Your favourite gift at Christmas this year was your gamer headphones, and your iPad is an extension of your arm. I chase you off one screen and find you on another. You’ve proven your comfort with technology at school, though, and seem to have become one of the go-to guys when the teachers need help with technology.

Google Cardboard via View-Master = AWESOME!

Simon, you are thoughtful and empathetic, and always seem keenly attuned to the feelings of others. Except when it comes to your little brother. You have a wicked sense of humour, and you are fun to banter and kibitz with. You’re also a great source of all the gossip in Grade 6, and a goodly portion of the gossip from the other grades, too! Your circle of friends is large, but your squad is tight: Dylan, Mason, Nathan, Ben, and Antonio are still your bros, but I think many of the kids in your class would consider you their friend.

Hockey day in Canada-13

Math, science, languages, history – you don’t seem to have trouble with any subject, and you excel at math and science (even though you do protest that you don’t like science, to my great chagrin.) It’s not unusual to see an A+ on your projects and tests, and you take obvious care and responsibility with your school work. You took another semester of piano this year, and played your recital on the grand piano. You find many ways to make us proud!

Lessons on a grand piano

You’ve shown a love and aptitude for basketball this year, and you’re enrolled in your third year of basketball through the city at MPS. Shortly after we saw the Globetrotters in action, you earned a spot on the school basketball team. Despite feeling less than well, you balanced early practices and a short job taking care of a neighbour’s dog and proved yourself to be dedicated and reliable. You even walked yourself to school in order to make it to early morning practices. And then you went on to score a “buzzy” at the basketball tournament!

Simon ball

You can be willful. You carried your winter jacket the entire day of our Christmas tree quest this year because you refused to wear it and I refused to let you leave it in the car. I’m sure in your life that stubborn streak will serve you well, but it will also put a few more grey hairs on my head between now and then.

Pumpkin picking 2015-4

This is your senior year in elementary school, and you’ve taken advantage of the many opportunities available for leadership and activities. You’ve dressed as the school mascot, acted as a peer counselor for younger students, made and sold duct-tape crafts to raise money for charity and earned your tickets to We Day. I love your enthusiasm for school activities and opportunities.

Simon bday

Simon, these love letters are easy to write, because you are easy to love. You make me laugh, you made me proud, and every now and then you make me crazy. You have so many new and exciting challenges coming up as you graduate from elementary school and move on to middle school this year, and I know it will be an amazing adventure for you. It’s wonderful watching you grow from a sweet child to a charming young man.


Happy birthday, my darling Simon! We do love you so!


The boys still love to come out for walks to feed the chickadees. (They might tell you that it’s more “tolerate” than “love” but it’s my story and I’ll edit it to suit my narrative.) Now that they’re older, though, the novelty of simply having the chickadees eat the seeds out of their hands has worn off. Now, they’ve escalated chickadee feeding to a competition. Whomever gets the most chickadees to choose his seed wins.

Sibling rivalry

Hey, as long as it gets them out of the house and into the fresh air (and, ahem, in front of my camera) is fine with me.


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Here’s the latest fad in winter fashion: chickadee seed hats. All the cool kids are wearing them!

Lucas with a chickadee

Feeding the chickadees in winter is always more fun. They’re hungry and more willing to come a little closer to even the twitchiest human to get some bird seed.

(Don’t you love Lucas’ adorable red tuque? It’s cute even without the optional chickadee attachment.)

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In addition to more black and white photography, this year I want to do more “lifestyle” photography. I realized when I made our annual photo book that I had taken a lot of family shots with my iPhone, but not as many with my big-girl camera. I want to make the effort to take more pictures of the minutia of daily life.

T drawing

I love this because it’s so very Tristan, in his very messy room that’s part little boy and part grown up – just like him. He’s drawing manga on his dad’s animation table. He had no idea I was even there, but was fine with me taking and sharing this picture. The teen years aren’t too scary — yet!!


Photo of the day: Walking

7 January 2016 Lucas

I‘ve got two big photographic learning projects this year: learning to make beautiful black and white photos, and conquering the use of flash. I didn’t need any flash with this one, what with that big flash bulb in the sky, but I am happy with the tones and shapes in this one. I sort of […]

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Photos of the day: Lucas’s baptism

15 November 2015 Lucas

You know how it is when you let something slide, and then you r-e-a-l-l-y let it slide, and then it’s too late and you’re embarrassed about how horribly you’ve let it slide and you’re past the point of redemption, so you lie awake agonizing about it but can’t bring yourself to do anything about it […]

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Photo(s) of the day: Pumpkin picking 2015

25 October 2015 Ah, me boys

Ever since we moved to Manotick, one of our favourite family traditions has been our autumn trip to Miller’s Farm to pick our Halloween pumpkins. I don’t know whether it’s the October light or the fact that the boys genuinely love the excursion, but there are always fun photos to be found. I particularly like […]

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Photo of the day: Thanksgiving trio

12 October 2015 Ah, me boys

I have a lot to be thankful for, not least of which is the fact that I can occasionally still talk these guys into posing for my camera. We took a Thanksgiving wander (calling it a hike would be a bit of an overstatement) through the trails at the Lime Kiln to feed the chickadees. […]

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