Sunday, September 16, 2012

My summer according to Instagram

This is a summary of my summer, in no particular order.... 

 My dear, wonderful friend Tara called my husband with a fantastic idea for Mother's Day. The plan was she and I would go to Jersey Boys... and we did! It was so fun singing along with the talented people on stage. I was, however, surprised that they didn't ask me to run away with them and be in the show... Maybe next time!

 I had the pleasure of running away to Banff this summer to a "secret wedding". Our neighbors got engaged about eight years ago, and decided to elope. It was such a fun weekend! If I were to do it again, I would so do it this way! Thanks Phil and Carrie for trusting me with your memories of this day.

I changed my hair up. Big time. I dyed it grey. Yep. On purpose. And I loved it! But yesterday I got it cut again, and we threw some pink in it. Again, I love it. Yay! I am so happy that I found an amazing hair dresser in Lethbridge because this gives me a reason to have a whole day to myself! 

 I learned to drive the boat. Sort of. Well... not really. It scares me. I don't know why, but it does. I don't want to hit a sand bar, or go too fast, or flip the boat (I know, I know... I won't flip the boat). But I did drive it around our lake for a bit. One day I will be able to pull Grant on his skis, but not yet.
 We crammed as much family time in as we could. With Grant working away, and summers being his busy time with forest fires, we have to take what we can get. So, we took! We went boating, and to movies, and worked in the yard (so fun.....) and just enjoyed our time together.
 I celebrated my ten year wedding anniversary. However, as I said before, Grant isn't around much in the summer, so I spent it with a bunch of girlfriends instead! It was a night full of laughs, drinks, and debauchery. (With very little debauchery.) I also started working on the plans to celebrate our anniversary together. Grant and I are going to wine country and San Fran this fall. I can't wait for some time away together, and also a chance to see the city my youngest sister says is her all time favorite!

 We camped. I know that a picture of a drink doesn't necessarily mean camping, but this is what Darcie and I did while we were camping! We spent a week in Champion's campground while our kids had swimming lessons. We had a blast. The kids got along better than they ever have, and I learned that I can camp without Grant! I was pretty proud of myself.... until I ran us out of propane. That makes for bbqing a bit harder. :/

 I read. A lot. Summer is all about relaxing and not stressing about the little things. At least it is for me. And so, I spent a lot of time behind the covers of some excellent books. The Sisters Brothers was one that I really enjoyed, and was completely surprised by. I will admit that I bought it because of the cover, (and a great review from a friend on Facebook). I really had no clue what it was about, and by the first page I realized it was a western. But I kept reading, and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it. I read six or seven other books this summer. It was quite a dent into the pile I have that need to be read, and then I bought about ten more to read, so by that equation, I need to catch up!

 I pickled. A couple of girlfriends and I got together and made a whopping 76 jars of dill pickles. It went by quite quickly considering, and I only forgot the salt for two batches..... 

 I shopped. Tara and I took the girls for a Girls' Day Out to CrossIron Mills. We had a good day spending money, and getting ready for back to school. I love that her daughter and Avery get along so well. It makes spending time together easier! (Not that it is hard.... It is just one more reason to get together!)

 I helped with harvest. It started so early this year. I don't ever remember a time that Grant was in the field in the middle of August, and this year I am happy to say that I took on the full time role of farm wife. I have never been too excited to take meals to the field or get parts, but this year it became a necessity, and I was glad to do it. Inconvenient? Yes. But it also meant that we got extra time with Grant that we wouldn't otherwise have had.

I escaped Lethbridge before the fire closed the highway! There was a major grass fire just outside of Lethbridge last week, and of course the wind was crazy that day fueling the flames, and even creating little fire tornados. The flames jumped the river, and the highway, and came very close to both Coalhurst and Lethbridge. The highway was closed and my friend Catherine was stranded in the city for hours. I made it out and was able to get these pictures when the fire was still relatively new.

This isn't the whole summer, and we certainly filled our days with swimming, and camping, and zoo trips, and Calaway Park, and more swimming and I for one am sad that summer the season is over. I am thrilled that summer the weather is still sticking it out. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Back to School

Back to school signals the end of summer. The weather is still warm, and the kids are still wearing shorts, but our days are no longer filled with deciding whether or not we go to the pool, or the spray park. Days are now filled with waking up early, making lunches, and last minute, "I forgot I had..... for homework!" (Clearly that happened this morning three minutes before the bus.)
Avery started grade two this year, and has come home from school every day this week excited about one thing or another that happened. I am looking forward to watching her continue to learn and grow, and excel in her subject areas. She make me so very proud.

Cohen starts kindergarten this year. His first day was a half day of orientation and he was literally bouncing off the walls before we left the house. He was so excited to put on his "handsome shirt" (see below...) that he fell into the island in the kitchen while taking off his pyjamas. He came home from school with an "A" book that he has been reading to anyone who will listen, including the dog. He is so eager to please and wants to go every day and not just twice a week. 
 With both kids in school I have newfound time on my hands. I still haven't decided what I am going to do with that time though. I talk a big game. I have said I plan on painting our bedroom, I am going to do once a month cooking, I am going to organize my whole house, etc. I think the reality is that I will be so busy with my photography for the first few months of school that I will just be working. Even so, I will be working uninterrupted!
It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

summer holiday pressure

Our summer holidays came to an end today as Avery went back to school and into grade two. I have been thinking back to the summer that was, and for a minute I felt guilty that we didn't do anything AMAZING, and that we stayed relatively close to home. It isn't that we didn't do anything this summer; we really did. We camped, we went to the zoo, and Calaway Park. We swam, and swam, and swam. We went to movies and had play dates. It was a great summer, but I think that because we didn't go to the cabin this summer I feel guilty.
And then I have to remind myself that the kids don't care what they do over summer holidays. I think that parents put pressure on themselves to do over the top things because that is what everyone else is doing. Or because they are trying to create memories.

When I was growing up, we would camp at Fairmont Hot Springs every summer. That was it. We had one week to camp, and we camped, and swam, and rode our bikes, and roasted hot dogs (gross). I have amazing memories of those summers. The smell of coconut "suntan lotion" still makes me think of the pool. Whenever we go back there, I immediately think of my childhood.

I worry that my kids won't have amazing summer memories, but then I asked Avery what she loved the best about this summer, and it was simple. She loved going to the pool. She said that she learned to be a better swimmer this summer and that was why she loved it.

Cohen said the same thing. He turned in to a little fish in July and now lives with his face in the water.
So. I need to release the guilt. My kids don't know that we could have done this, or gone there. They are happy with the simple things. And isn't that a lesson we can all learn?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not ready for this...

I am not ready for summer holidays to be over. I am not ready to make lunches, or get up early, or study spelling words. I am especially not ready for Cohen to go to school two days a week. I don't know what I am going to do with that time! (I know what I should do, but don't know what I will actually do.)
My September is going to be filled with school pictures. I have three school contracts this year to photograph, and the addition of the third school more than doubles the number of images I will be taking versus years past. My October is going to be filled with getting school pictures back to the schools, as well as two weekends are booked for weddings. In addition to that, I have about four family sessions confirmed, and three more looking for tentative dates depending on the fall weather. So, although I think I won't have anything to do, I know I will be busy.
When all of that is taken care of, I plan on re-organizing my house. Who am I kidding... organizing my house.
I have been pinning ideas for organization for months, and actually already started some mini projects. Just the other day, I spent a whopping thirty minutes organizing the cupboards under the sink in the bathroom. It felt so good. I can't wait for the rest of the house.... I am sure Grant can't either.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Me vs Pollen

I will do anything for a good shot. (well, maybe not ANYTHING - I won't go into a mouse infested house or anything) I have allergies. Especially to pollen. And I think particularly to canola pollen.

However, I will still traipse into the pollen to get some pictures of my kids. The sun was BRIIIIIGHT this day. I was shooting at an f-stop of 26! That's crazy. I must say I like the sky a lot better when there are big fluffy clouds in it! 
I also love how much my kids love each other. I told them to stand beside each other, and this is how they interpreted that. Don't get me wrong... they will have a good old, knock down, drag out from time to time, but they play together, and love each other more than they fight. I am a lucky momma!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Farming is a gamble. A HUGE gamble. A necessary gamble. If all farmers decided to give up whenever a gamble went bad, the rest of the world would surely go hungry. This year was our first year growing peas. They are a risky crop because they don't necessarily make you money, but they are great for the soil as part of crop rotation. So, Grant was more than thrilled when his pea crop was one of the best in our part of the country. He has some 7 and 8 peas per pod pods. That is a big deal. (Or so I am told).
So, you can imagine how devastating things were around here yesterday when two major hailstorms made their way through yesterday. 
 This is one of the windows on the north side of our house. There are six sets of windows along the front of our house. Five of the six are now broken. Not good.
But this is worse.
This is Grant in his pea crop. Hours before it was above his waist. Now is doesn't even cover the soles of his shoes. This is what tens of thousands of dollars that you could have had, looks like when it is ripped out of your hand. 

Grant was surprisingly cool, calm and collected when he called to tell me what had happened. This photo was taken two hours after the storm ended. He sent me the picture and said it was funny that the hail was higher than the crop was.... I didn't think it was THAT funny... :/

So, here is the gamble. Farming is all about relying on things that are completely out of your control... it is about hoping you get rain at the right time, sun at the right time, hail never, frost never, and then hope that your crops fill out, the flowers bloom, and that there is money at the end. And all of that can be wiped away in a matter of minutes. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In an effort to save a few soon to be obsolete pennies

I live an hour from the closest Starbucks. This is a good thing for my wallet. I am not one of those people with enough disposable income to go there every day and spend $4 for a coffee. (In fact, I don't know a lot of people with this much disposable income). I do however, enjoy what they have to offer, so I have had to learn how to make my own replacements for their yummy drinks. I have perfected my own iced chai latte. I have some chai spice that I made that I use to make it just that much more chai-y (yes that is a word). I also use the Tazo Chai concentrate that they sell at Starbucks, but I buy at Costco for a fraction of the cost.
Today is the passion tea lemonade experiment. I bought the passion tea bags, and ready made lemonade. I have just steeped six bags of tea and they are chilling in the fridge. I also just made my own simple syrup.... I just have to wait for it all to cool, and the experiment will be in the testing stages! I am excited for all of the money this is going to save me!