Ah, me boys

Nothing says summer like road trip, family, nine hour car ride, and then watching the sun set into the Great Lakes on a warm evening.

Barefoot on the beach

Hello, summer, how I have missed you!


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We have driven past this monument in the Half Moon Bay section of Barrhaven many times, and I’ve always been curious about it. Last night after swimming lessons, Lucas and I decided to head over to check it out up close.

There’s a placard that explains that what I thought might have been a starfish is actually a falling star, and the monument is one to whimsey and astronomy – two of my favourite things! So I told Lucas: “Go catch that falling star!”

Catch a falling star

Today’s lesson is that if you have the chance to chase a falling star with a lively eight-year-old at sunset on a pretty late spring evening, you should absolutely do it!


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It has been a good long while since we’ve had a cat picture around here, hasn’t it?

Tristan and Willie

Both the cat and the man-child are growing up. Lucky for me, while the cat remains averse to cuddling, the man-child is still open to the idea of a hug every now and then.


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I was poking through my archives looking for information about Blog Out Loud Ottawa (did you know BOLO 2016 is this weekend?) and came across this post, which I read at the very first BOLO in 2009. It made me laugh, so I thought I’d share. This is pretty much my whole parenting life in one anecdote!

It seemed like a straightforward question. On the enrollment form I completed on the first day of Tristan’s first day-long day camp: “Can your child swim 25 meters unassisted: yes, no, I don’t know.”

25 meters? How long is 25 meters anyway? That seems kind of far. So I checked “no”.

Then I thought of Tristan bounding off the diving board and dogpaddling happily the length of our friends’ pool, and his success in swimming lessons, and scratched out my “no” and checked the “yes” box.

Then I paused, and reread the question. And I had visions of Tristan foundering in the deep end of some lake-sized pool, alone and far from safety, going under for the third time. And I quickly scratched out my check in the “yes” box and circled the previously scratched out “no” box and drew a little happy face beside it.

Then I paused again. Suddenly, I was picturing Tristan sitting dejectedly on the pool deck in a life preserver as the rest of his camp mates splashed happily in the pool. I pictured him at 35, in his therapist’s office, describing how a childhood spent in a protective bubble ruined his life. So I drew a squiggley line through my circle around the “no” box and scratched it so definitively out that I bled through the paper. And I put a big X on the happy face, too.

I hovered my pen briefly over the “I don’t know” box. I tried to imagine in which universe a skinny, pimply-faced teenager with no investment in the future social and mental well-being of my oldest son was somehow in a better position to make this decision than I seemed to be capable of, and didn’t check that box either.

In the end, I redrew the little box above the “yes” and ticked it off. For good measure, I pointed a few arrows at it and wrote the word “yes!” at the end of the question, and underlined it. I think maybe I was trying to sell the answer to myself.

At the end of the day, I grilled Tristan with the usual questions about his day, and he answered with the usual dreamy inexactitude I have come to expect. He told me about his art class (it was an arts camp) and the monster he was creating in a distracted sort of way. I asked about the pool.

“Oh yeah!” he said, snapping awake into the story, eyes bright with the memory of it. “It was great! I jumped off the highest diving board!”

I paused to digest that. “You mean the one closest to the ground, right? The low board? Not the one that you have to climb up a ladder to get to?” Surely to god my six year old who only learned how to jump off the diving board in the last year was not jumping off the 3m (10 foot) board.

“No, Mommy, the big board! I climbed up the ladder, and the first time I was scared, but then it was a lot of fun so I did it a bunch of times! And it was great! I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and do it again!” At least, I assume that’s what he said. I think I died of fright somewhere around the first exclamation point.

Six year old Tristan on a much more appropriately-sized diving board!

Six year old Tristan on a much more appropriately-sized diving board!


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Easter then and now

by DaniGirl on March 28, 2016 · 3 comments

in Ah, me boys, Photography

I was looking through some old Easter photos and couldn’t help but notice that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I find it fascinating that the photos I chose to keep are so similar in composition and pose, and focus on the same aspects of their personalities.

Tristan, age 7 and age 14:

Tristan old and new Easter copy

Simon, age 5 and age 12:

Simon old and new Easter

Lucas, age 3 and age 8:

Lucas old and new Easter

Well, at least one thing has changed: my mad photo skillz are clearly improved!


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I couldn’t tell you whether it’s me or the boys who more love decorating Easter eggs. They all have a lovely artistic streak in their nature, and I’m delighted to have them trapped in a room doing an activity together that’s delightfully photogenic. Wins all around!

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I always start going for documentary-style shots of the activity and their interactions.

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I try to catch their different personalities.

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And then I just had fun with the shapes and colours.

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It might be an early and icy Easter, but it’s definitely a colourful one!


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Photo of the day: Sunshine smile

19 March 2016 Lucas

I wanted to capture that delightful gap-toothed smile before it was gone. I hope the sparkle in his smile is always there.

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A love letter to Tristan, Age 14

8 March 2016 Tristan

My sweet, funny man-child: Tristan, today you are 14. As I write this, you are busy sifting through books, papers and Lego sets to replace an older, smaller bookshelf with a larger one we filched from the curb last night. It’s a great metaphor for where you are in your life – trading in Captain […]

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In which I not only stalk Chef Michael Smith, but convince him to FaceTime with the boys

25 February 2016 Ah, me boys

It’s been nearly two years since I first wrote about stalking my culinary hero, Chef Michael Smith. Since then we’ve been to his Flavour Shack in Souris several times, and for my birthday dinner last year we splurged on an incredible family dinner at his new FireWorks restaurant at the Inn at Bay Fortune. And […]

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Photo of the day: Biggest! Snowman! Ever!

22 February 2016 Ah, me boys

It’s the off-season for my photography business, which means two things. First, I’ve got a lot more time on my hands, so I’m teaching myself new tricks and being inspired by seeking out photography tutorials and workshops. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about creativity and storytelling in my photography. Second, I’m positively twitchy to take […]

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