From the category archives:

Photo of the Day

Isn’t it funny when the random bits of your life come together in a cohesive way?

Toward the end of February, my friend Yvonne mentioned she was doing something called Hot Power Yoga Basics, and I was intrigued. I’d done yoga classes at the local community centre on and off way back in the day, but I liked the idea of something more physically challenging and strength building like power yoga. I’ve been going to the class every Thursday evening since the beginning of March and I’ve been really enjoying it – when I am not cursing it. The cursing usually comes about 40 hours after the class when my muscles lock up from the exertion, but even that is a good sort of pain. I’m hoping to be leaner and stronger and a little less unbalanced [insert your own joke here] in a couple of months if I keep it up.

By sheer coincidence, within days of my return to yoga I happened to receive an e-mail from Glenda at Ottawa Corporate Yoga. She was looking to commission a photographer to help her develop a set of cards to accompany bedtime yoga workshop that Glenda offers with a special focus on kids who have sleep disorders or anxiety issues. I loved the idea of the project from the start, and the fact that designer on the project would be the fabulous Lynn Jatania was the icing on the cake.

Here’s one of my favourite poses from the session. It’s called Lizard on a Rock, and it’s being demonstrated by Glenda and her adorable daughter.

Lizard on a rock

I can’t wait to see how the final project turns out!

Hey Yvonne, you want to try this one out at yoga class tonight? I get dibs on the top position!


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Of all the creatures great and small we saw on our Parc Omega adventure, it was the wolves that most enchanted all of us.

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

We arrived just a few minutes before the thrice daily feeding show. They don’t actually feed the wolves a full meal, the “animator” host explained. For meal time, they actually drag a full animal carcass into the enclosure and let the wolves feast on that, but then when their bellies are full they laze around and digest for hours. Instead, during the feeding show the host tosses fist-size clumps of meat to the wolves, who are waiting patiently for their treat.

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

Or in some cases, not so patiently. (This one reminded us of Bella. She sprang up and jumped over and over and over, just like Bella does when she’s impatient.) See how her paws are clear off the snow?

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

I found the host’s patter fascinating. He told us about wolf society, and how to read their body language to tell the more dominant from the more submissive wolves. He explained what everyone knows, that the alpha is the leader of the pack, but he also talked about the omega, the least dominant member of the pack, and how the omega often takes on the roll of nurturing the pups. He also told us about how they had quite a surprise show on the March Break, and how they were able to count ahead from the March break to the week in May when a new litter of wolf pups should be born!

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

He also told us to watch carefully after he finished giving the wolves their snack. Once the wolves understood that all the food had been dispensed, there was a ritualistic greeting that went on, where the more submissive dogs licked the faces of the more dominant ones, while the more dominant once often snapped and snarled. It made me wonder if Bella’s almost compulsive need to lick people in the face is an instinctual throwback to that. (Although I’m not sure it will help build the confidence of the many people she’s startled when they lean down to say hi to her and she leaps up to kiss them on the lips in return.)

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

Even though we were frozen half to death after the 45 minute show, we all agreed that the wolves alone were worth the price of admission AND the time spent in the frigid and un-spring-like cold weather. The host mentioned that in the summer, they’ll be offering a new program with overnight accommodations and a lantern-lit moonlight walk to listen to the wolves howling at night. How awesome would THAT be?

The grey wolves of Parc Omega

Aren’t they spectacular? Stand by for more photos from the warmer portion of our Parc Omega adventure!


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We’d been planning to go to Parc Omega for the last day of March Break for a while, but we almost chickened out when the weather crapped out (again!) and the temperature was -20C (again!) early this morning. We sucked it up, dressed warmly and had an AMAZING time!

Lots more to come, but this family portrait was an early favourite.

Family portrait

And look, all five of us are in the portrait! ;)


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The calendar says it’s spring at 6:45 pm today, but it still looks a little too much like winter for my tastes outside so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I thought I’d celebrate the first day of spring with a glimpse of things to come, and a remembrance of a perfect summer day: lupines at the seashore in Prince Edward Island.

Happy first day of spring

It’s not lost on me that these poor lupines are currently buried under an astonishing five METERS of snow. However much I might be yearning for spring, I’m pretty sure the residents of PEI are yearning for it more!

Four months from right now, we’ll be there!!


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We are the family you need to be friends with, the one that chooses a March Break staycation just so we can stay behind and take care of all of our vacationing friends’ pets! Tristan is taking care of one friend’s cat at home, and Moose the Rat is staying with us for a week.

We also took care of a pair of our friends’ rats last March Break, but sadly, only one of the duo remains. Truth be told, Moose is a pretty old rat, and not long for this earth, but he seems full of vim and vigour to me. In fact, mere minutes before this photo was taken, he gave Willie a generous nip on the nose when Willie got a little too close! I may have guffawed.

Willie meets Moose

You can see that Willie is now keeping his nose a healthy distance away from the bars!

I actually really like having a rat as a pet. They’re neat and sociable and very friendly. Though he nipped Willie rather enthusiastically, he doesn’t bite little fingers thrust between the bars of his cage and he loves to be handled. We try to put Bella in her cage and bring him out for a visit at least once a day. (Leaving Bella out while you take the rat out of its cage results in Bella springing up in shoulder-high jumps, trying to get a closer look. To his credit, this doesn’t seem to faze the rat, either. He really is a mellow creature!)

It’s nice of our friends to let us play with their pets so I don’t keep pestering Beloved for one of my own, isn’t it? :)


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When I heard that there would be an MC Escher exhibit at the National Gallery during March Break, I knew I wanted to bring the boys. Two love art and one loves math – how could we go wrong with an exhibit about a “Mathemagician”? We added an extra kid for good measure – in for a penny, in for a pound, right? And then when I thought about all those wonderful corridors and leading lines everywhere inside the National Gallery, I knew it would be an excellent place to have some fun with my new fisheye lens.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

We didn’t even make it all the way to the Gallery and I was finding new ways to look at familiar things (which is really the most fun part of a new lens, IMHO.)

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

I have always loved the work of Dutch artist MC Escher, and I knew the kids would be intrigued by some of his more surrealistic later work. They were actually really engaged with the whole exhibit, though. They were intrigued by the difference between the pencil sketches and the woodcuts, and loved some of the pattern progression pieces where negative space actually becomes the dominant subject.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

Turned out that the most difficult part of the afternoon was not getting the kids engaged in the art, but in helping the littlest overcome his compulsion to trace over all the lines with his fingertips. “No touching, sweetheart, remember? (pause) No touching, please. (pause) Seriously Luke, no touching!”

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

(And yes, in case you were wondering, you ARE allowed to take photos in some of the exhibitions. Not all of them – you need to watch for the signs where some pieces are forbidden, and of course no flash. But I was delighted by the fact that we were allowed to take pictures pretty much everywhere we went. And so I did! And once I had the fisheye lens on the camera, I just decided to roll with it for the whole afternoon, odd distortion and weird framing be damned. Because art!)

Visiting the gallery while wrangling four kids is a little distracting, but I did manage to see my longtime favourite MC Escher sketch called Relativity. I tore this out of a communications textbook when I was in university and it was pinned to my work cubicle wall for years.

So the Escher exhibit took us a while longer than I would have expected since the kids were so engaged, and we were just talking about which other galleries might be interesting when we came upon the Artissimo program in progress in the main foyer. I’d read about the Artissimo programs on the National Gallery’s website, but frankly, they didn’t do the program justice. It is AMAZING!

Three of the kids decided to go on a scavenger hunt where they selected a costume, dressed in it, and then had to find the piece of art containing their character. The fourth child chose a mystery feely box scavenger hunt: you are given a box with holes on the sides for your hands, but you can’t look in. You guess by feeling the objects what they are, and then try to guess which work of art they relate to.

Here they are with their costumes and their paintings – and no, Tristan is not wearing that expression because I made him wear the dress. HE chose the dress, and the serious face is supposed to be miming the painting.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

One of the kids was a slightly more sophisticated art connoisseur while the others were a little more goal oriented, so I had three scrambling through the galleries looking to solve the puzzle and one laggard saying, “But, wait, can we look at this painting? Hang on, look at this. Okay, after this can we go back and look at that painting?” It wasn’t the most leisurely browse of the Gallery, but the kids sure were engaged with the art.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

And then I had a bit more fun with the fisheye lens.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

There may or may not have been a visit to another downtown Ottawa icon, just to round out a perfect day out.

Ottawa Family Fun: Artissimo at the National Gallery

So if you’re looking for a wonderful day out with the kids, don’t overlook the National Gallery. Admission is an unexpectedly affordable $24 for a family, or $12 for adults, $6 for youth, and kids under 12 free! MC Escher: the Mathemagician runs through May 3.


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Photo(s) of the day: A lesson on Manotick School of Music’s grand piano

15 March 2015 Photo of the Day

Simon had the opportunity to take his weekly music lesson on the grand piano at the Manotick School of Music yesterday, and I thought it would be fun to get a photo or two. I’d just picked up a second-hand fish-eye lens and thought it would be a fun place to take it for a [...]

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Photo of the day: Snowman – finally!

9 March 2015 Photo of the Day

It’s been such an odd winter in Ottawa, hasn’t it? Not a lot of snow before Christmas, and then temperatures so ridiculously cold that nobody wanted to go outside to play, and the snow was too powdery to make a snowman even if you were to brave the cold. Until today! Lucas was so excited [...]

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Photos of the day: Winter walk on the Jack Pine Trail and a Spring Thaw portrait deal

28 February 2015 Mothership Photography

Did you see?? The sun came out AND it was above minus 20 today. It was practically summer!! We celebrated with a walk on one of our favourite Ottawa trails, and were delighted by the number of animals who came out to say hello: pileated woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees, a merlin, a few playful red [...]

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Photo of the day: Think spring!

22 February 2015 Photo of the Day

I got tired of waiting for spring to make even the faintest hint of an intimation that it was going to show up this year, so I took matters into my own hands. Spring, goddammit!

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