Explore: Life in Pictures, Vol. 6

The end of 2013 whipped by. Last time I did a photo update on my word for last year we were finishing summer and transitioning into kindergarten and I was getting ready to go back to work. And now it’s 2014. January 7 already. Before I know it May will be here again and the snow will be gone and 2013 will seem very far away. So here’s the end of the year in pictures.

I didn’t do much in the way of exploring, at least not in the traditional sense. But we hit some milestones and had some fun, and I guess that’s what it’s supposed to be about anyway.

Someone turned one.


You would think he didn’t like his birthday cake.


But you’d be wrong. He devoured that piece.


It was a good birthday. The last first.


Christmas came even though I wasn’t ready, as predicted.


It was fairly low-key – a rare thing in my family. But we did the obligatory (and enjoyable) things. Now I just need to clear the detritus from my living room. (I did mention that it’s January 7, didn’t I?)


We had a cold snap in there too. A very, very cold snap. Did you know you could get ice an inch thick on the inside of your windows? In Alberta you can.


But winter is beautiful. At least I think so.


So we took advantage of it.


We walked, and found signs of beauty and love.


Winter lasts for a long time here, but sometimes you just have to throw yourself into it and become one with the snow. (Literally, even.)


He looks like he’s not enjoying himself (or maybe he just thinks the hat is goofy) but he had a blast. Deep snow is apparently quite fun when you’re one.


We had some losses…


…but many more wins.


And so ended 2013.

#iPPP is back for 2014! Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

Explore: Life in Pictures, Vol. 1

I wrote a post just about exactly one year ago about all the things I wanted to do in 2012. It was part of wanting to live in a vibrant way and I was totally excited. And then about a week later I got pregnant. And I spent about, oh, 8 1/2 months feeling like crap. So we didn’t do all the things I wanted to do, which was okay because we did some of them and the rest are there waiting.

Some people might think we’re crazy for moving to a place with the fabled Canadian winter, but I love it. I love snow, and we get a lot of sun, and it’s not as cold as you might think and when it is we just dress for it.

It’s exhilarating.

Lately we’ve been driving around doing things and I keep thinking, “I’m so glad we moved here. I belong here.” And I feel so lucky and grateful.

This year I want to revisit that list of things I want to do. I want to EXPLORE.

We’ve started already.

One day it was a visit to a tower that I’ve had a fondness for since I was a child.


Looking up.


We looked way out past the buildings, past the river, past the houses to the mountains. And we looked down. Way down.


Looking through tower's glass floor

Looking down.


I’m going strong on my latest life list quest — exercising for 30 days straight — and have been treated to some wonderous things in the process.



Winter sunset


And we’ve ventured a little farther from home as well. To the mountains, of course.



In Banff


Just out of the frame on the left were some elk. Big ones, with big antlers (just far away enough that I couldn’t get a decent picture with my iPhone). And my husband smiled at me and said, “I love that you get so excited about seeing stuff like this.”

I do get excited about things like this and I’m not afraid to admit it. Choosing to get excited about seeing elk at the side of a frozen river is just one of the things that makes life interesting, don’t you think?

But sometimes the things I get excited about are right there on my very own couch, and I feel so lucky and grateful for that too.



Ethan and my dad



Linked up with:

Essence of Now



Farewell to 2012 in Photos: Link-up

We had a great Christmas but I’m glad it’s over, you know? I’m ready to plug away on the stuff I want to work on instead of being consumed by the madness of a deadline most other people are working towards as well.

But before I get too deep into new projects it’s time to look back.

I love this time of year for all the lists of top moments, big news stories and all that wrap-up-the-year stuff. So why not do our own? I did this photo retrospective last year and it was a great exercise in looking at just how much had happened in a year.

Having put together this post for this year, I can say I think 2012 was equally full of unexpected stuff. We had a baby, my brother and sister-in-law had twins, and my parents actually moved out here. I didn’t do as much adventuring or travelling as I had hoped, but we were blessed with so much other good stuff instead. Hard and sad stuff, too, but we’ve got what we need to get through it.

Want to join me for your own year in review? Pick one picture for each month of the year (or do a photo dump – whatever you like!). Then grab the button (code is in the right sidebar), post, and link up with me to say farewell to 2012 in photos.

The link-up will be live from December 28 through January 4. On January 5, one linker will be randomly chosen to receive a package from Little Love Media that includes a blog evaluation report and a blog strategy. (Thanks again, Alison!)

Let’s do this.


In January we had just moved to Calgary and we were embracing winter. I had chosen “vibrant” as my one word for 2012 and I wanted to really get out and enjoy our new city and all it offers. We went skiing and skating, and the picture above was at the Lake Louise Ice Festival. Awesome month (that also included the beginning of something else awesome, but more about that when we get to October).



In February we were settling in, and quite well overall, but we were starting to really miss having my parents close by and Connor really missed Grandma.



March was mostly just March. Except that at the end of the month we lost Michael.


April was about motherhood. It was quiet moments and acceptance and Very Serious Conversations.


In May I was pregnant. ALL THE TIME. (And perhaps a bit obsessed about certain aspects of it.) To distract myself from the constant morning sickness I started thinking about names and came across this gem from when I was pregnant with Connor.



In June I still wasn’t feeling quite right. I was struggling with depression and sad after we found out we weren’t having a girl. But Connor turned four, and watching him turn into a little person in a way he really hadn’t been before was pretty cool.


In July I was still working on finding my way, but I think the best drama of the month resulted in this.

(I got the ring fixed, by the way.)


In August I was still thoroughly in pregnancy hell. It was hot, I was tired, and I had just had enough. But that was the month something clicked for me with Connor. It had been a long time coming, and it’s something I still remember. (I don’t always achieve the motherhood equivalent of Zen, but my awareness is there and that’s huge.)


September was all about getting ready to have a baby. I started mat leave in the middle of the month, we finished Ethan’s nursery and I spent some time thinking about (and preparing for) giving birth. And good thing, too…


…because in October this beautiful boy came into the world.

And it was good.


In November I was tired. But I spent a lot of time cuddling a baby, and it was good.


winter moon

And that brings us to the end of another year. December has been a good month, and different in a good way from the rest of the year. I feel like I enjoyed things more and took time to appreciate the goodness and opportunity around me. A nice feeling to take with me into the next year, don’t you think?

What was 2012 about for you?


Join Me in a Photo Farewell to 2012

Christmas is over (whew!) and now it’s time for one of the parts of the year I like best – saying goodbye to the old and preparing to welcome the new. The combination of reminiscing and getting a clean slate is the best.

Last year at the end of the year I said farewell to 2011 in photos. I invited other bloggers to join me and many did, and I enjoyed the look back at the year in the pictures we shared.

It seems counterintuitive that a post with one photo per month could sum up a whole year, but it it forces us to focus on the big moments and the things we want to remember. The way our children looked in January. The holiday in July. Where we are now, in the final month of the year.

What was important about 2012 for you? What images would you choose to represent your moments?

I’d love it if you’d look back with me.

Pick one picture for each month of the year (you can focus on the memories or the photography – it’s up to you.) Then grab the button (code is in the right sidebar), post, and link up with me to say farewell to 2012 in photos.


The link-up will be live from December 28 through January 4. On January 5, one linker will be chosen to receive a package from Little Love Media that includes a blog evaluation report and a blog strategy. (Huge thanks to Alison for supporting this!)

Farcical Photo Shoot (and a giveaway!)

The following is an actual account of what can happen when you decide to get family photos done and then don’t prepare (at all) for the photo shoot. Read and be glad you’re not me:

  • Book a time to get photos done and then do nothing to prepare. Phone the day before and reschedule for the following week.
  • Have good intentions but don’t actually do anything about them in the intervening week.
  • Sleep in the day of the shoot and have a leisurely morning.
  • Look at the clock at 12:46 and realize the session is in a little more than an hour and you’re not prepared.
  • Have a minor panic attack. [Read more…]