October 2014

A country lane, a sunny morning, yellow and orange maples arching overhead? Lovely. Now torque the holy heck out of it with Photoshop, just for the fun of it!

Autumn spiral

Sometimes it’s fun to play, just for the heck of it!


Oh hypocrisy, thy name is mother. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that any righteous judgement I make will promptly or eventually come back to bite me on the ass.

Once upon a year or two ago, I was firmly of the opinion that trick-or-treating was and should remain the domain of young children. The wee-est Harry Potters and Disney Princesses always got an extra treat on my porch, while roving bands of half-costumed teens got whatever my kids had rejected as unsavoury from their own sacks, and maybe a barely concealed scowl as well. Trick or treaters are supposed to be little kids, right?

In which the evil Lord Vader protects the innocent Frog Prince and half-Batmanned Bruce Wayne from the evil Mamarazzi

And then two things happened. First, my elementary school aged son started shaving, sprouted past five and a half feet tall and had his voice drop an octave or two. Second, I read this lovely article in the Huff Post (no, that’s not actually an oxymoron) called What You Need to Know About 6-Foot Trick-or-Treaters. It’s a sweet and insightful article, and you should read the whole thing now, because I’m about to totally spoil it for you by cutting and pasting my favourite bit, the conclusion:

That night I was reminded that parents are not the only ones who regret the passing years. A year earlier, for the first time, my son gave out candy instead of trick-or-treating. It was an OK experience, but not worth repeating. It’s much more fun to go trick-or-treating with a bunch of guys and if the neighbors are grumpy, it’s easier to laugh things off when you’re in a crowd.

So here’s what I can pass on, if you don’t have your own 15-year-old boy.

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go — nor how badly.

Give them big bars. Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that.

Let them pretend it just isn’t so.

I think this is both lovely and 100% true. We’ve been having discussions for the last year or two about how old is too old, and even last Halloween I thought maybe twelve years old might be our family threshold. I’m rethinking that now, though. If the boys want to keep trick or treating for a few more years, I’m not going to stop them.

Not least because then I’d have to buy my own candy stash! πŸ˜‰

What do you think, bloggy peeps? Should there be an upper age limit on trick or treating?


Like yesterday’s post, this photo of the day post is from the weekend. Forgive me, but I think they’re too lovely not to share. And it’s not Halloween yet, so it’s not too late, right?

My babies in the pumpkin patch:

Pumkin Pickers

Eep! When did they get so grown up?

Wait, here’s one more. Can you believe I got all three of them to (more or less, close enough) smile TWICE IN THE SAME DAY?

Pumkin Pickers

Lookit how much they’ve grown up since our first trip to Millers, the year we moved to Manotick in 2010. It’s a Wordless Wednesday and Throwback Thursday all rolled up into one! (Except, not Wordless. And, um, not Thursday. Throwback Wednesday anyone?)

Pumpkin picking 2010-2

In case you were wondering, I have an extraordinary number of photos in my archives tagged with “pumpkins”.

And here’s a gratuitous shot of pumpkins, to show my love for you.

Pumkin Pickers

Because pumpkins.


Oh dear, I am falling further and further behind. At this rate, I’ll be posting my Chrismas photos next July! When I say “photo of the day” one can no longer assume I’m talking about *this* day!

This fun family came for porch portraits this past weekend. The boys, ages 3 and 6, were full of monkey business, which made them an absolute delight to work with. I love families with a great sense of humour who are willing to have a bit of fun with the photo session. Aren’t they a gorgeous family?

Two boys in a wagon

And that warm autumn light – so lovely. It may be true that I have just a wee bit of a bias in favour of families with boys. πŸ˜‰

Speaking of boys, I put mine to work not long after this photo session raking up those lovely leaves in the background. Just a few days later, I’ve got a studio full of leaves again!


This is #MyOttawa

by DaniGirl on October 24, 2014 · 3 comments

in Life in Ottawa

When I left the house this morning, I knew I’d be going across downtown for a meeting. Beloved and the boys had brought home some beautiful yellow roses for me earlier in the week, and I took a minute to pluck one out of the vase on the table to bring with me to lay near the War Memorial.

As I crossed Majors Hill Park, the sun behind me shone brightly on the Parliament Buildings. The Peace Tower, with its flag at half mast for Cpl Nathan Cirillo, blazed in light against dark clouds behind it, and all I could think of was this: even after the worst storms, the sun still comes out.


Isn’t that how we are all feeling today?

I breathed deeply in the soft morning air and made my way between the Chateau Laurier and the Rideau Canal, a walk I’ve done dozens, maybe a hundred times over the years. As I came up the stairs on to Wellington Street, I could see the barricades had been pushed back even since yesterday.

In fact, I was surprised to be able to walk right up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There were at least a dozen uniformed police officers standing by, and probably a dozen more that I could not see. News trucks lined Elgin Street in front of the NAC and a few cameras were pointed at the War Memorial. Barricades had been pushed to the side, and city workers in orange jumpers were in the process of reverently carrying armloads of flowers, candles, notes and other tributes from their original location at the southern-most tip of the block right to the steps of the War memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was able to lay my yellow rose right on to the steps.

I took a few steps back and then settled briefly on a nearby bench to reflect, and to breathe the still morning air. And to cry, just for a minute, overwhelmed by the moment and the beauty of the autumn morning and touched by the stream of people who approached to pay their respects or genuflect or to lay their own flowers down. A stranger passed behind me and ever so gently touched my shoulder, saying nothing, then continued on his way.


It was one moment in a series of moments, like pearls on a string, that have sharpened my love of this city over the past two days, like the hashtag being used on Twitter called #MyOttawa, to celebrate what makes our city beautiful. A terrible, horrible thing has happened, and in its aftermath, we have defined ourselves through acts of beauty. From this heartbreaking article about the ordinary heroes who stepped into the path of danger to come to the aid of the fallen soldier to this video of the House of Commons paying tribute to Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers to the leaders of our political parties standing in solidarity and exchanging hugs in the House of Commons to the simple gesture of a passing stranger… this is #MyOttawa.


It was a warm September day in Ottawa, and I had just picked up a takeout lunch from the Ribfest on Sparks Street. I had a styrofoam box filled with beef ribs, beans and cole slaw, and I was looking for a spot in the sun to enjoy my lunch. I stepped out of the shadows of the big buildings around Sparks Street and into the bright sunshine beaming down onto the square around the War Memorial and found a spot on a bench to enjoy my way-too-heavy lunch.

As I ate, I happened to be watching the Honour Guard in front of the Canadian War Memorial. The different elements of the Canadian Forces take turns rotating through Honour Guard duty, standing guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and this happened to be the Navy’s time of responsibility. Two seamen stood on active guard and two others were at ease nearby, interacting with the dozen or so tourists in front of the memorial. I laughed to myself as I watched one of the tourists hand her iPad to the at-ease guard and pose with her husband while the guard obligingly took a photo of them. I wondered if the couple, obviously not from Ottawa and probably not from Canada, knew they had just asked a member of our armed military to take their photo.

Charmed, I watched the Navy reservists continue to interact with the tourists. I inched a little closer so I could hear some of the interactions, and listened to the young guard field questions not only about the War Memorial and the Honour Guard, but about Ottawa, about the Rideau Canal, and about (snicker) the nearest public washroom. The young man was unerringly polite, kind and helpful as the others guards stood at rigid attention in the blazing sun.

I thought about turning my camera on them, but I didn’t. I wish I had. As I wandered back to my office that day, a piper emerged from under the keyhole cutout at the base of Elgin Street and approached the War Memorial, and I took this photo of him.

Standing on guard for thee

How can I reconcile that beautiful sunny afternoon with what happened today in Ottawa? How many times have I paused to admire the ceremony of Changing of the Guard at the War Memorial, as I criss-cross downtown on my way to a meeting or out for lunch or just on a meander in the sunshine? My heart absolutely aches for the family of the young reservist who was killed today. How can such a brutal, cold, horrific thing happen?

As I type this, I am at home listening to news updates on the radio. I’m typing with several browser windows open, one to updates on Twitter and another on Facebook. This is my day off work, but had I been at work today, I would have been mere meters away from the chaos at the heart of our city. My friends and office mates are in lockdown. I simply cannot wrap my head around this senseless violence at the heart of my beloved city.

Remember these photos I took, just a few days ago? This peaceful, majestic Hall of Honour in our beautiful Parliament Buildings?

Peace Tower tour

This is that hallway this morning.

I’m willing to bet it’s never going to be that easy to aimlessly wander those gorgeous hallways. We’ve all lost something beautiful and innocent today.

But much as my heart aches for our city, our home, it’s the fallen soldier that I’m crying for right now. A dedicated young man who woke up to an ordinary day, and was just doing his duty – standing on guard for us.


Halloween Family Fun with the City of Ottawa Museums

21 October 2014 Ottawa Family Fun

Looking for spooktacular family fun in Ottawa this weekend? Whether you’re a fearless adult or a tiny trick-or-treater, the City of Ottawa museums have an adventure that’s perfect for you. Here’s the details, in their own words. Haunted Historic Village – October 24 and 25 Experience starts at 7:30 pm with the last admission at […]

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Photo of the day: Adorable AND smart!

19 October 2014 Photo of the Day

Oh babies! So! Many! Babies! on the porch lately. I’d ask where they’re all coming from, but with three of my own, I’m pretty sure I’ve got that part figured out. This handsome fellow was so curious and interested in me and my camera, but he was not at all interested in having those fake […]

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An ode to two t-shirts

16 October 2014 It IS all about me

They came from the clearance rack at the Gap. It’s really rather astonishing what a large percentage of my clothes come from there. I’m sure I didn’t pay more than $6 each for them – just plain old cotton t-shirts, one in a nice cool magenta, and one in utilitarian navy blue. I’ve had them […]

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Photo of the day: Handsome fellow fall portraits on the porch

13 October 2014 Mothership Photography

I‘ve had a rush of babies on the porch for portraits this month. Lucky me!! Babies are a lot more work when it comes to portraits: they are terrible at listening to directions, I have to get down on my belly to see them eye to eye, and they have the disconcerting habit of suddenly […]

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