Category Archives: photography + writing

playing catch up

Firstly, I apologize for my absence and secondly, I thank you warmly for your kind emails to check in on me.  At 5 weeks of pregnancy the all day nausea hit me like a tonne of bricks and the depression that always accompanies it followed close behind.  Up until now, even the thought of signing into my blog account made me feel nauseated.

Alas, I am 19 weeks along and aside from feeling a bit gaggy in the mornings, I am feeling much better now.  Phew, that was a rough ride!

I am a little ashamed and saddened that I have only a handful of ho-hum photos from the past 3 months, so indulge me while I attempt to record a few snapshots to remind us all of what these month looked like…

  • We had our 18 to 20 week ultrasound on Monday and found out that we are having a GIRL!  The kids have been saying girl consistently whenever we ask them so it was no big surprise to them.  We waited to find out for our first two, but thought it would be fun to find out for our last one.  It feels really nice to know…though I do have that nagging thought that they do make mistakes.
  • The all day nausea lasted from 5 weeks until about 15 weeks.  I made the whole 10 weeks without throwing up and then randomly at 18 weeks, I barfed my guts out.  The same thing happened with Poppy.
  • If I had picked up my camera you would likely see pictures of Silas dressed in a straw hat and lady gloves while exclaiming “Iiiiiit’s show time!” and you would see Poppy dressed in her flapper hat, lady gloves and a purse declaring she was ready to go to the bush.
  • We spent a great deal of time laying on the couch watching movies.  The funny thing is that I felt so guilty, but the kids were happy…likely because they had me all to themselves to snuggle and play with.  I also realized just how well they get along and play together.  They almost never fight and almost always share there food and toys with each other with a simple offer or question “You wanna share with me Silas/Poppy”.  They really are the best of friends and I am so glad they will be homeschooled to foster that relationship.
  • I wonder how this new little girl will fit into the mix and dynamic.  Both kids are excited and ease my worries when they bring toys for the baby, kiss my belly, and shush each other so as not to wake the baby.  Silas found a play stethoscope at the local thrift store and immediately held it up to my belly and said “I’m just checking your baby.  I’m a doctor.”
  • There was lots of lego, books, and puzzles by the fire.
  • Evening games of Uno in which Poppy actually began beating us until she lost interest and left the game after 4 or 5 hands.
  • The Waltons
  • Poppy has become quite crafty and resourceful.  When I take to long to fill a bowl with water for her to use her watercolour paints, she will spit in them and begin without me.  She used the same principle just yesterday when she wanted water for the mud pit they love so much.  She peed in it and I was able to stop her as she was about to proceed playing with her new mud.  Don’t worry we promptly filled the area in with 10 bags of play sand last night.  The black flies swarmed us, but with bug nets over their heads, they played happily for nearly an hour without so much as a single bite.
  • Speaking of the mud pit, one warm day this week they were able to strip down and become completely coated in dark, rich mud. All was fine and dandy until Silas snuck inside, waited until I spotted him, slammed the door and ran squealing into the front room and onto the couch where he flailed around until I could get him off and into the tub where he surprised us all by pooping. He has never done that and I think he was more shocked than Poppy and I.
  • Poppy has been sleeping in her own room, but Mike has been staying with her until she falls asleep, but about a month ago she started asking to go to bed and falling asleep by herself.  This is a very big moment for us as we have never wanted to let her cry it out.
  • We have been moving Silas to his own toddler bed in their shared room after he falls asleep, but most nights he finds his way back into our bed.
  • Poppy loves to draw, but shows more creativity with paints.  My favourite pieces are a portrait of Daddy and a colourful caterpillar.
  • She has also begun spelling and writing her name by herself and has learned the sounds all the letters of the alphabet make.
  • Our 9 hens are laying well and we can barely use up all the eggs.
  • Our red headed rooster has started to attack us.  It began with Silas, then Poppy, then Mike, then me.  He isn’t brutally aggressive, but enough to be annoying.  The good news is that when he attacked Silas and Poppy, Huck was there and gently pulled the rooster off of them by the tail feathers.  We are hoping to find a new home for him or he may end up in the freezer.
  • Huck has been a frustratingly stubborn dog, but he is wonderful with the kids and keeps a watchful eye on them.  If they run out of sight, he will follow and sit with them.
  • Our area had a lot of run off water, rain, and flooding this spring.  We weren’t affected by the flooding rivers at home, but our basement did gather some water which was frustrating, but so many people were evacuated and likely have severe water damage to their homes.
  • Mike and I will be creating a new website for Ellenberger Organic Farm.  It will have a lot more comprehensive information on it.  I will let you know when it goes live, but if you’d like to see more up to date photos, videos, and what is available when, etc, be sure to like their new Facebook page!  It was a great maple syrup year for them.
  • Mike’s Mom and her partner were up for a visit as they made their way back from Florida to Newfoundland which meant that Mike and I were able to get into the big city for our first night away alone in over four years.   We visited the St. Lawrence Market where I nearly passed out due to low blood sugar.  I sat on their lovely outdoor patio area where Mike fed me strawberries, cookies, meat sticks and water until I recovered.  We then walked on to the Distillery District.  Then up through a sketchy part of town and through Cabbagetown until we reached our hotel (An old Victorian house that Ernest Hemmingway lived in while in Toronto).  Once talking to the kids and freshening up, we made our way through the posh, douche chill inducing streets of Yorkville to a little Indian Restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely, quiet meal while simultaneously remembering why we like and love each other.  We then sipped on coffee and hot chocolate and strolled through aisles of books.  In the morning we rose early and enjoyed a stroll back down Bloor until we arrived at the ROM.  We sipped more hot beverages and ate a small breakfast while chatting and people watching until the museum opened.  With one set of butterfly wings, one set of dinosaur wings and a dinosaur mug, we made our way back to Union Station by way of the bustling Yonge Street.  My feet still hurt, but the simple memories are good ones that should carry us through to our next getaway in another couple of years ;).
  • Turns out that making baby girls makes for a fatter sicker mama. With Silas I was able to wear the same pair of non maternity jeans throughout the whole pregnancy. With this one, I peed on the stick and my pants stopped fitting.  Sweet lord, it is going to be a long summer!
  •  There are so many lilac blossom promises this year.  How I love the wild flowers and perennials that grow around this little house…wild roses, peonies, poppies, lilacs, daisies, cherry and apple blossoms, and black eyed Susan’s, oh my!  My mason jars shall runneth over this year!
  • We are hoping to get honeybees next spring.  I do love the dear little creatures, but would like to get the family allergy tested before we get them to make me feel better.
  • Mike is still making his way though our giant pile of firewood logs which means Mike ventured into chainsaw ownership and use.  He was pretty excited.  We hope to save up for a much more efficient wood stove this fall.
  • We were very pleased that we didn’t owe any taxes this year!  We got a $10 return, but paid $80 to figure that out.
  • Poppy has a new habit of posing very seriously for photos.  It is hard to explain, but it often translates into a very sad looking little girl even though as soon as I take it she breaks into a smile and asks to see it.  It is as though she is being artistic beyond her years.  Just yesterday she spotted the patch of cheerful dandelions in the yard and ran out to pick them in her fairy jammies.  She brought more and more in and then arranged them ever so carefully in a small mason jar.  Of course there were some very stoic poses for mama and her camera, but I did manage to capture a couple candid joyful faces.
  • Silas’ favourite new word is “dirt bag”.  It is something we lovingly call him from time to time, but it likely sounds horrible to onlookers who watch Mike take him into the washroom of the restaurant to wash his hands while he hollers playfully in protest “Let me go you dirt bag!”.  Funny stuff.
  • I purchased a 5 year journal on our little getaway to the city and look forward to recording a little bit about our everyday days.

Well, there you have it.  I know I’ve forgotten so many tiny good moments, but now I will have something to come back to this winter as we work away on our annual Poppy, Silas + Little Girl (We have a name picked, but will attempt keeping it secret for now) book for the grandparents.

I hope to see more of you these days and catch up on your own spaces again.


go gently + be wonderful


Also posted in 365 photo project, 52 portraits, celebration, ellenberger organic farm, family, feather + anchor, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, Uncategorized, wellness | 8 Comments


I finally began reading The Paris Wife.  I also received The Moveable Feast for Christmas.  I started reading The Moveable Feast first, but he talks about the characters and events as though I already know the story.  I like him and his words, but felt reading The Paris Wife first may give me a better sense of the setting.

I haven’t read much in the years since the kids were born.  The last book I read in its entirety was Eat, Pray, Love and I am quite certain I was still working as a Dental Hygienist.  I, of course, read a lot of things like cookbooks, blogs, articles, magazines, essays, parenting books, and have begun reading many of the novels on our overflowing bookshelves (Oh wait!  I did read the first Harry Potter book recently!), but struggle to finish what I start.

It isn’t that I don’t like reading, it is that I am a slow reader and it needs to be a perfect fit.  I need to be able to absorb each sentence fully; let it roll around in my mouth for a while and allow myself to fall into the depth and perfection of single sentences.  I have no idea how people who read quickly can do that.  It was a skill I never picked up.  I also hate being pulled from a story which is pretty much impossible with two young children who will always require a snack; a drink; a toy; a diaper change; a cuddle; assistance in the bathroom; a referee.  I have also been in the habit of scattering my time across Facebook and Pinterest more and more which has stolen quality time with a good book, not to mention, shortened my attention span.  Reading has become a bit of a laborious task for me.  But when I do return to it, it is magic.

Similar to how I always seem to forget how sweet and decadent things like honey and apples are until I absentmindedly lick my finger while I make the kids’ breakfast and am suddenly reminded of just how good and perfect it is.  Yes, reading is just like that; sweet like honey.

This morning I tidied the front room and ironed Mike’s work clothes while he fed and watered the chickens and brought in more wood.   I stuck a feather in my page and vowed to spend as much time reading today as possible.  I figured my vows would be foiled by toddler mayhem, until Silas climbed up on the couch, picked up my book and said “Lets read this Mommy.”.  I laughed, but humoured him by sitting down, pulling him into my lap and began reading aloud to him.  We stayed like that for a long time until Huck knocked the bowl of last night’s popcorn onto the floor and broke the spell.  There was a short description of Hemingway as a child and it reminded me of Silas.  It made me wonder what greatness our children would realize.

I love reading about a time when they drank wine from teacups on rooftops and eroticism was perhaps only a touch more subtle; dwelling in the unknown.  Very little is unknown these days isn’t it.  Have you seen Midnight in Paris?  I loved the quote about “Golden Age Thinking” {“Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in – its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present. “}.  I am constantly seduced by this, but fear not, there is very little chance of me finding a worm hole which takes me to 1920’s Paris anytime soon, so I will keep reading and adding pieces of Paris to our home and lives where I can.

Yes, this year I vow to read more, write more, and eat more honey.

Join me.

go gently + be wonderful

Also posted in 365 photo project | 9 Comments

a tiny winter romp

After a lunch of soup and banana muffins we made our way outside.  Our chickens, after all, have begun laying again.  It is only our second “first egg”, but it still feels like such a sacred thing so I used it for our muffins to be sure it would be savoured and devoured.

We are enjoying the quiet days of January.  I am always sad to see my favourite season end, but we are easing back into the year by spending lots of time inside by the fire and baking.  I haven’t begun thinking about gardens or outside projects yet.  My mind is still inside.  Winter is long, but it will make spring that much sweeter.  I would be lost without the Canadian seasons.

This little girl looked so wonderfully pretty against the stark background I was glad I decided to grab my camera on the way out.  S decided it wasn’t his day to be photographed and kept his distance.  P looked like a little Nordic dream; her hair wild and her eyes blue.  I have been catching glimpses of my own grandmother (her middle namesake) of late too.  It both surprises and comforts me.

What do your post holiday days look like?


go gently + be wonderful


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earth’s best sundays + day six of 365


fresh snow

lots of treats for the chickens

a good day spent with dear friends

homemade Jamaican patties

lemon cake

wild play

a mini snowman

a romp in the woods

guitar by the fire

warm cocoa

nice chats

home again

go gently + be wonderful


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some days are better

Yesterday was restless and rough.  Paint smeared across furniture, Huck stealing homemade pizza from the counter top, and yarn unraveled.  T’was not a stellar day in my parenting career thus far, that is for certain.  It ended with me laying rumpled on our bed in a dark room wishing I was more patient; better; different.

Today has been better.  Christmas crafting, roughhousing and hugging, soup warming on the wood stove, and sitting cuddled under a creamy blanket watching The Sword in The Stone.  The tree line out front is hazed by heavy layers of falling snow.

I am looking forward to the slow days of our Christmas vacation; a visit to the farm (and if we’re lucky, a horse drawn sleigh ride), puzzles, books, afternoon coffee, all day snacking, perpetual Christmas movies and music, visitors, walks in the woods, campfires, sleeping in front of the fire, and gingerbread houses.

Yes, I intend to savour every little morsel of Christmas goodness because I know January, February, and March will be good, but oh so long.

In other news, I am very excited about what 2013 holds for my wee photography business.  I am feeling inspired and hopeful.  If you haven’t already, be sure to “like” my new Facebook page to learn about mini sessions and other updates.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to book a photo session for the new year.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Have a merry day, folks!

go gently + be wonderful


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new rhythm + feeling festive

Since daycare officially ended a few weeks ago, I find our days have a new rhythm to them; slower; less frantic.  The kids have been getting along better and I often find them reading a book together or laughing hysterically at each other’s antics.  It’s good.

Yesterday I used the hot glue gun to attach cedar to cardboard wreath templates.  As I was explaining the importance of not touching the tip to avoid burning yourself to Poppy, I promptly burnt my thumb.  She gasped, kissed it, and asked if I would like a band aid on after a bath.  Later I had them sort through the cranberries by placing the mushy ones in a small dish and the good ones in a little pile for me to string onto baker’s twine.  I hung it in the kitchen and added the small cedar wreaths to it.   I hung more twinkle lights in our bedroom.  We rummaged around in the scrap pile for two good pieces of barn board and made a “be merry” sign as well as a “follow joy” sign.  I have no idea where I will hang them, but I like them.

Today we went on a hunt in the woods for leathery oak leaves, bits of cedar and spruce, feathers, birch paper, clumps of mossy and lichen, and pine cones to create a festive yet natural advent calendar I am so excited to create.   I was on the lookout for small pine and cedar saplings to transplant along our front fence.  I had never noticed the numerous saplings who had gathered at the feet of fallen or barren coniferous trees; as though to protect and pay their respects to a fallen elder.

We then released thousands of milkweed seeds into the air.  Much like the petals of a peony they remind my of frivolous and whimsical things.  Things like star dust and moon beams.  Seeds with wings, my goodness, it doesn’t get much better than that.  The sky is as pure a blue that ever was or will be and the sun friendly.

Of course Silas still throws down like a boss and Poppy still refuses (I mean refuses) to go on the potty, but I find myself more patient with it all.

Today I woke early and started a crock pot full of pulled pork with a made from scratch sauce.  If it tastes half as good as it smells we are in business.

The season of home and hearth is upon us and it is where I am most at ease.



go gently.  be wonderful + merry.


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a frosty morn

No matter how many times I waken to see hoar frost decorating the landscape, I can’t seem to resist the magic as it beckons me outside.  It is much like the first warm day of spring; the first crimson leaf spotted; or the first blanket of snow.  I had a craft that called for tiny bits of cedar so we bundled up and ventured out into the cool air to gather what we needed.  We wandered up into the woods and headed for the pond.  It really is the best way to start a day (when my overactive imagination doesn’t think about coyotes and bears that is).  The dogs raced back and forth.  Soma tends to go just out of view and that come crashing back out onto the path, but I noticed Huck would stop when he would get too far from us and sit looking back at us and in the direction Soma had gone.  It seemed like he didn’t want to leave us alone on the path.

We came back to a warm house warmed by fire (we have yet to turn on our propane furnace this season!) and scented with crock pot beef stew.  I opened the turquoise trunk that holds our Christmas decorations and began stringing lights around the perimeter of our front room while the kids squealed excitedly, pulling decorations from their safe places, and becoming tangled in tinsel.  I wrote “joyeux noel” with a chalk pen on the front window.

The rest of the day will be for making mini wreaths (if only I can find my glue gun), making date squares, and stringing cranberries.  Mike will come home to see twinkle lights in the windows and be greeted with warm stew and pastry ready for the table.  We will listen to Loreena Mckennitt’s Christmas music (and ,very likely, Silas’ post nap/ no nap tantrum.  We will bath the kids and then settle in a night in front of the fire.

Sometimes this life of one income and one car in the country can feel as though it is somehow lacking, but then there are days such as this, when it feels so utterly luxurious.


go gently + be wonderful


Also posted in celebration, craft, family, frugal living, homeschooling, life, our cabin, Uncategorized, wellness | 6 Comments

a great day for a family session

Yesterday was a great day for a photo session with sweet family.

P.S.  I want her boots 😉

go gently + be wonderful


Also posted in feather + anchor | 2 Comments

a visit to the knitty gritty homestead

On a bit bit of a whim, I decided to ask one of my favourite blog sisters (who happens to live a mere 2 hours down the road) if she would be game for some maternity photos.  Many of you likely know and read all that Stephanie shares on her blog The Knitty Gritty Homestead and I assure you she is just as wonderful (if not more so) in real life.

We descended upon their house and couldn’t help but feel as though our arrival should have been accompanied by circus music.  Out poured two adults, two toddlers, one dog and one giant puppy.  Oh my.  They were so gracious and easy to spend time with.  We feasted on homemade soup, turkey and roasted vegetables.

To be honest, we spent more time chatting, laughing, and child wrangling than taking pictures, but I was able to snap a few keepers of this prettyful mama.

I came away feeling relaxed and grateful for all the special people who have made their way into our lives and hearts through the Wonderful World of Blog.

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figuring it out

Since my last post, I have spent a bit of time listening to and reading Danielle LaPorte and Wayne Dyer.  I find them inspiring because they give me permission to ask for what I want; do it gently, but without apology; and to resist the constant yearning to please everyone.  They remind me that I get to do this my way.

It has occurred to me a number of times over the years that I need constant approval.  Phew, that was hard to say out loud.  Perhaps all bloggers are a little like this.  Perhaps not.  But the act of sharing, posting, and linking is all very odd when I think too much about it.  Partly, I do it because I enjoy recording the moments of our lives that could otherwise get lost in the folds; partly, I do it to ward off the feeling of isolation and the crazy that comes with being cooped up with 2 (sometimes 4) kids under 4; and, for the last  part, I do it because I need to hear “Good job!”  “You inspire me!” and, the big one, “You should!  It doesn’t seem to matter how many touching emails come my way, I always remember the people who said nothing.  When there is silence, I hear “You shouldn’t”  or “I don’t have anything nice to say, so I won’t say anything…maybe she’ll get the hint”.   I often marvel at other artists’ confidence and wonder if they fight the same twisted battle.  I silently admire their work, assuming they hear, often enough, how great their work is.  But do they hear their own fears echoing in the quiet like I do?

I won’t please everyone with my pictures. I am quite sure I could always know more about f stops and lighting and photoshop.   What I find beautiful or meaningful, others may find silly, pointless, or odd.  For a people pleaser, this is complete and utter torture, even though I know it is  irrational.  I do it in many aspects of my life.   I show my softness, but hide the rough edges.  Sometimes I wish I could soften those edges instead of hide them, but it is who I am.  They are the culmination of my experiences; my battles; my victories; my lessons; my wounds.

This isn’t about getting more compliments or comments; nor is it just about the task of starting and succeeding at my own photography business.  It is about declaration; me declaring that I am good enough, qualified, smart enough, and worthy.  It is about me realizing I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, artists, warriors, creatives, collectors, writers, farmers, whiskey makers, and risk takers and they are in my corner.  It is about me finally turning an attentive ear to the whispers and cheers coming from the shadows of others who are all too familiar with the obnoxious voices who talk nasty to us.  It is about taking back what has been stolen by self doubt, reluctance, and incorrect priorities.  It is about showing  my children what living with sincerity is instead of just talking as though it is a far off dream, only meant for the elite others.  It is about being scared of looking foolish, failing and criticism, but doing it anyway.   It is about taking all of that hurt and fear and doubt; all of that excitement, anticipation, and brainstorming; and doing good rather than evil.


Launch and learn , Bitches.



P.S.  I hearby declare that I will tell those fierce, creative, inspiring, warrior women blazing a path just how wonderful I think they are.  Maybe you’d like to join me and break the silent admiration.  Let it be known.

Also posted in feather + anchor | 25 Comments