I am very comfortable on a certain side of the camera lens... the one with an eye piece. I'm not super comfy on that other side of the lens. However I am not so uncomfortable that I don't want to be in pictures as I believe that moms need to make an effort to be in pictures so that when looking back our children don't wonder where the heck we were their entire childhood.

We were seriously due for some family portraits and so the lovely Crystal Kowal agreed to capture them for us.

This summer we spent a lot of time as a family on the river. We kayaked and explored, taking in the ruggedness and randomness left from the flood, spotted sunning turtles and chased down schools of bottom feeders. When we weren't literally on the river we were on the banks fishing. The boy one caught his first fish all on his own and we perfected Ninja Whip Fishing.

It was at our "special fishing spot" that I decided I wanted to have our pictures done because it would be a great end to our summer spent there. I envisioned a canoe with afgans and smiling cooperative children all being captured just as the sun was setting.

Things don't always go as planned...
- had to do a last minute re-schedule as our portrait day was forecasting rain, snow and 20 km winds! (Thank you Crystal for being so flexible and fitting us in!)
- the boy one melted down before we left
- the tall one had to work late and almost missed the session
- I underestimated the length of the canoe and there was no way we could fit it on the truck!
- the girl one decided to only be silly and rarely look at the camera (at least not without her tongue out)

But... this is life and we photogs are in the business of capturing life (not some alternate reality) and I am in love with what Crystal captured of our family :)

Sibling love.

Mom and the littles (see missing husband! lol).


My handsome little man. I'm so proud of who he is and is becoming.

My girl, full of life, zeal and a beautiful spirit.

Right here I said "Kai, I love you" and he replied, "Mom, I just love you too."



My anthro afgan - what can I say, it's a treasured possession ;) lol.

Exactly a decade ago today, he got down on both knees and asked me to be his wife. Who knew what was so wonderful then would only get better and better and better.

O.K. I'm done with the sappy stuff.

I just feel really blessed and thank you Crystal for capturing our family in what I'm sure was not the smoothest of sessions ;) You rock.

About a month ago Bolan pinned a picture of a Bachelorette party playing paintball in ugly 80's bridesmaids dresses. She commented that she was bummed she hadn't had the chance to do this for her hen party and I commented that there was no reason we couldn't still do it.

And thus... Ugly Bridesmaid Shoot Out 2012 was born.

Bolan got us all on board and we started prepping. I must admit that our Facebook Message feed alone made this whole endeavour worth it. It was hilarious.

We posted links to fabulous ebay dresses we found and purchased or in my case accidentally purchased :)

Only one of us (J to the Wall) had ever played paintball before and so we were a little unsure of how much it was going to hurt or how the heck we would know what to do. Thankfully the majority of our husbands are paintball ninja's and could hook us up with the gear and the tall one volunteered to come along with us, teach us how to use our equipment, set up games and be the photographer. He's splendid.

Here we all are pre departure :)

At this point I feel the need to record some of the awesome quotes that came from our Facebook feed in  an effort to really capture the whole story :) I'll leave the names out though. Ha.

ok girls... i was just in the shower (irrelevant, but i was) and i was thinking what if its TOOOO painful... what if something happens and you fall and hurt and we have no code word! WE NEED A CODE WORD PEOPLE!!!!

The code word became "Cheesecake".

Haha I have a good stock of nursing pads if you wish to armour your bosoms smile

Dont you guys be mean!!! I have a bad back! Yes- I'm using that!!!
Quick. Shoot the gimp.

I think I'm gonna start back-combing my hair now to get enough height ....but that might make me a bigger target lol

A, you'll be fine... D will be squealing.... People gravitate towards sound. Stay low... And if need be, throw her in front! wink
not only am i not wanted, im now being used a paintball protective gear!!! smile

Someone is probably thinking, I can't believe I sold that! Ahahaha (referring to purchased dress).

We can also turn the speed on the guns WAY down wink
  • Good idea
  • To the 'super slow wussy' setting??

    I'm a wussy these days that doesn't want to be bruised.. But alas, I want X  to grow up knowing she has a cool mommy. Lol

    Think Dean will be mad if I glue rhinestones to his helmet?

So last minute most of the husbands decided that they didn't really want to miss this and made the journey out with us to watch the hilarity that was bound to ensue :)

It turned into a spectator event!

And we're ready! Guns on safety, lectures on keeping our masks on and rules set up on how close we could shoot from :)

First game - protect the cement pad. Off we go!

Waiting for the other team to take position.

And it's on! Like donkey kong.

Our groupies :) Pretty much tailgating at our paintball event.

Trying to plan our strategy for the next game. Shoot the other team.

C being stealthy. The brown was a good choice :)

J to the Wall, in position. Rocking her own grad dress!

Bolan - darting through the woods I'm sure.

English one coming out of cover.

Moi - motioning to tall one to quit talking lest he give up my position. Dude, seriously!

English one again :)

We were very stealthy and sought each other out. The last game was every woman for herself. Good times. There was a lot of paint fired. Some more than others (J to the Wall!). There were some pretty ninja like moves, a little bit of screaming (English one), and "cheesecake" was only yelled a few times when our masks were so fogged we couldn't see :)

By far our biggest obstacle/enemy were the blasted burrs! They were everywhere. Most of us were wearing leggings and they grabbed on and dug into our skin. Bolan got the worst of it, she was covered! Arms, legs, hair. So many burrs.

All in all it was a fantastic night. I think we've accomplished the goal of our children thinking we are cool. My 4 yr son peppered me with questions when I got home, "did you shoot people with the shooting gun?" "Did you go pew, pew, pew, pew?" "Was Auntie Dani scared?" lol. He knows her well. My response was "Well, yes at first but then she shot lots of people."

Gotta say I'm thankful that I have such cool adventurous friends. Life is never boring.

At this point I still feel pretty sick about what happened but I know in the big picture it is a really small thing. So I write today for the purpose of putting down this story for my kids while it is still fresh.

The tall one has been rocking a shaved head for at least the past year and so often we get the boy one to do the preliminary shave. He thinks it's really fun, it saves me time and I just come at the end to clean it up and make sure he got everything.

Yesterday I was post processing a session inside when Dean set up the kids to shave his head. He needed me to put the cape on so he came inside and then went back out. He returned a second time with a clump of Hannah's hair in his hand.

My. Heart. Sank.

I ran outside with a steady stream of "no, no, no, no, no..."

He took the clippers to her hair. Needless to say I was upset. The boy one didn't get what was wrong, "I asked Hannah and she said 'yes'. "

Ugh... seriously. This is 2 1/2 years of growth, gone. Right to the scalp.

So, I cried. The boy one cried. The girl one cried.

I grieved my little girl's hair but even in that moment I recalled reading a post on a blog I follow just the day before about a mom sitting in the hospital room holding the hand of her little boy who had just undergone an emergency surgery for a tumor found in his brain. Surely his little head was shaved for the incision and my heart broke for that mom and that little boy.

I was devastated about this fully preventable incident that was going to mean years of camouflaging her hair but my little girl is fully healthy. Her shaved head comes from an over eager sibling, not something that threatens her life.

There were lots of little things we could have done to ensure this didn't happen but it makes me think of other preventable incidents that have far more sobering effects. I'm thankful it was only a handful of hair and that again, my babies are safe, happy and healthy.

Hanny's hair grows straight forward and so I've had to learn to become a ninja braider just to keep her locks out of her eyes. Thankfully I can fully cover the bald spots by parting her hair differently, combing over her hair and braiding it in place. It's going to be fine. 

She is ridiculously beautiful and few clumps of missing hair doesn't affect that one bit. 

So to my children:

Boy one - Dude, don't cut anyone's hair! If you want to do something you've never done before, please ask Mommy. I love you.

Girl one - You are stunning, so beautiful. I know you are fearless but please don't let your brother cut your hair ever, ever, ever again. Just say no babe. I love you.

~ Mommy

I've got Fall Portraits in the Park coming up tomorrow and the urge hit me to have a cute vintage arm chair to use as a prop. Thankfully I'm a chair hoarder and so I had one laying around :)

My brother had this beauty (albeit in better shape than seen here) in his room and I begged and begged for it. He finally acquiesce and gave me the chair. Unfortunately though we didn't own a truck at the time and so we tried to fit the chair in Elsie to bring home. Camper doors are small. So we ripped the front legs semi-off.

This is apparently a very well built chair. They were very hard to get apart much less put back together. So they're a little wonky but just fine for the purpose of a prop :)

 Yesterday I was spraying the final coats of the furniture and cabinet paint on my dining table and homeschool table and figured that the chair would look better with white wood as well. Taping was far more effort than I wanted to put in so I just held up a piece of cardboard and set the flow and pattern on my fancy shmancy paint sprayer and was pretty amazed when I barely hit any fabric!

As you can see the lower upholstery was demolished so I chose some of this gorgeous fabric to recover it. This fabric makes me happy happy happy.

Not too shabby for pushing in with scissors, folding and stapling :)

One of the wooden arm ends and the upholstered pad were fully chewed up by my bro's child dog Otis so I sanded it down and then added the floral fabric on both arms as well. Staples made it look really messy so I went with hot glue. I'm pretty good with a glue gun but this project left me missing a few finger prints.

And so I am left with this gorgeous little chair. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and even more pleased with how little time it took. It was fairly liberating knowing it didn't need to go in my home and thus I didn't have to do everything the "right" way.

So if you have a mini session booked for Monday you'll get to sit your fanny in this cutie - but be careful it's pretty wobbly.

DIY Chair Photo Prop

by on 2:25 PM
I've got Fall Portraits in the Park coming up tomorrow and the urge hit me to have a cute vintage arm chair to use as a prop. Thankfully...