Tag Archives: photos

April 2014

27 Jun

For Christmas this year I drew my brother’s name in our Secret Santa draw. Ummm…excellent. My brother and I share an affinity for dork culture that is unparalleled by the other members of our immediate family. So I bought him a 3-day, VIP pass to the 2014 Vancouver Fan Expo. He was pretty excited. I think he was more excited that I also bought MYSELF a ticket, and that our buddies Stamata and AJ would be there to hold our hands lest we get too excited and maul a favorite celebrity. (In this case, the headliner was Bruce Campbell…ummm…AMAZING!)

Bruce Campbell’s accomplishments include both Evil Dead movies and their hilarious trilogy conclusion, Army of Darkness. A recurring role in Xena: The Warrior Princess, guest cameos in the original Spiderman trilogy (thanks to director Sam Raimi, who also had a hand in Xena), an awesome part in the excellent show Burn Notice, and many, many, many other.

Yeah…we were excited. So we loaded up our comic books and dvds and headed to the Convention Center downtown. We had passes for Friday. Saturday, and Sunday. Saturday, Nova and Lux’s grandparents graciously agreed to take them overnight so that Cale could come along to support his super nerd wife. (Something I am eternally grateful for, and why I will continue to go to the gym. Thanks honey.) We had an amazing time, and Cale, being the excellent sport he is, even put on my brother’s Darth Vader costume and entertained the masses with countless photo ops.

Can’t wait for next year!



Representatives of the 501st Legion had an exhibit. My brother is in heaven right now. This guy is giving Cale some costume/character advice. So awesome.


Dr. Who Weeping Angel…as represented by a FOUR YEAR OLD! Parenting: You’re Doing It Right.


I learned so much about Pokemon from this guy all weekend.


I mean come on. Get out of her with your gorgeous self. ❤


I’m happy that this weirdo is related to me.




And of course…Bruce Campbell meet Wayne and Garth. Perfect ending.

In this midst of all of this excitement, we snuck in an Easter Breakfast/Egg Hunt. The whole family was there (minus Jerred and including the DGs) which was pretty fantastic! The girls are becoming more aware of what a “holiday” is. We do presents for Easter (because I do presents for EVERYTHING…whether there’s a reason or not…because I just like to give people things.) so they got some cute dresses, a few new toys, and a buttload of chocolate, much to Nova’s EXTREME pleasure.








Then Nova and I snuck outside while Lux was sleeping and played in my in-laws beautiful back yard.




The month rounded itself out with an annual barbecue with friends that I was happy to attend child-free. It tends to go on into the later hours of the evening and we used to come early so that everyone could see the girls, but I was grateful that I was able to go, stay as long as I liked, and have uninterrupted adult conversation. Sometimes the stories about being married with children are much more entertaining than being forced to witness the reality. HA!


Gorgeous Asia, who would hardly sit still for a photo.




One of these days I’ll be all caught up.

Tough Days

7 Sep

Lux is in the middle of teething, so her night time sleeping is sporadic at best, my husband is working nights and weekends to finish a project at work, Nova is in the midst of a hitting/biting/pinching/hair pulling phase that is driving me insane, and I don’t think I’ve slept more than 4 hours in the last 9 months. I love my life a great deal. I’m happy with where I am and what I have and I feel nothing but unbridled joy when I think about our little family and our dynamic together.

But some days are tough.

Today is a tough day. Yesterday was a tough day. In fact…this feels like a tough week. Nova and I have been struggling a lot this week, as I seem to be on the receiving end of most of her outbursts. That’s best case scenario, because I’m much more capable of deflecting toddler blows than her 9 month old sister, but it doesn’t make the days any less long or trying or occasionally leave me seeking solitude in the bathroom after the girls are asleep, head in my hands, fed up with research and consistency and getting advice from other parents and trying new things. Some nights, I’m just worn out, and I browse through old photos to remind myself that every stage is fleeting, and every moment passes.

For every difficult moment that we have lately, we have an equally wonderful and rewarding moment.

Lux and Nova played with the same toy, together, for a full 2 minutes.

Nova and Lux laughing


Lux and Nova


When all else fails, bath time is ALWAYS a riot.

bathtub laugh

bathtub kiss


bathtub reach

My oldest girl is gorgeous and wild and asserts herself as often as possible. She tests boundaries and pushes limits and her personality is the opposite of mine, which leaves me imagining many more tough moments in the future of our relationship. And I know she’s only 2, and things change, and I’m unbelievably proud of all of her accomplishments and the hurdles that her little brain jumps over every single day. We are both allowed to be frustrated, and we are both very forgiving.

So the journey to gentleness continues, and when we look back on these photos many, many years from now, the tough moments will be forgotten.

wild nova




Lux – 7 Months

16 Aug


Lux’s seventh month was pretty dynamic!

She got her first tooth.

10 Tooth

She also worked very hard on her upward mobility and went from lying on the floor, desperate to see everything going on by craning her tiny little neck every which way, to pulling herself along with her delightfully strong arms Army style. Following me around from room to room snorting from the effort and from being excited that she can finally follow big sister around, get that squeeky toy across the room (usually her Sophie the Giraffe doll) and shovel cheerios and other treats into her mouth.


She made the transition to solid food like a champ and baby led weaning is going AMAZINGLY well. She loves all kinds of food. Avocados, steamed carrots, toast, bananas, strawberries, everything. She’s loving every minute of it. It is so fun introducing her to new foods. I don’t know if she realized that she’s eating something new or if she’s just excited to be eating in general but it’s pretty entertaining either way.


We’re THISCLOSE to being able to get a good night’s sleep. She goes to sleep around 7pm and if we’re lucky she’ll wake up at midnight when we move her from our bedroom, and then again at around 2/3. Some nights there is still a 5am cuddle needed, but more and more often we’re able to stretch it to 7am. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Mama misses her sleep so much! Fortunately, her chubby little grin makes the late nights worth it. I mean, come on!


Lux is a pretty cute baby, but I feel like photos never quite capture her the right way. In person she is delightful, charming, good natured, determined, hilarious and eager to please. She’s started mimicking our voices so we squawk at one another like birds in high pitched falsettos. It’s a very weird Mama/Baby bird-like dynamic without the feeding process. (She eats like a human without cutlery, never fear.)


A Lux tattoo is forthcoming! July was a VERY busy month for us but things are settling down which means more time for snuggles, giggles and tattoos.

Soon to follow…CRAWLING! I cannot wait for her to be running after Nova! I cannot wait for them to be able to play together! And I cannot wait until she can hug her big sister goodnight! (I think Nova might be excited about that as well.) For now we will settle for the amazing belly laughs she lets out every time Nova comes in for a kiss. It’s pretty amazing.



24 Jul

“There is family you are born into, and family you choose. Tamara has always been a member of my chosen family…”

On July 13th my best friend married my brother in law. In some ways, my life is like a fairy tale. I fell in love and married a man I’d been secretly in love with since high school, and now my best friend, whom I’ve known and loved for 15 years, shares my last name and I get to call her “sister”. Does life get any better than this?


Tamara and Jerred were married at Gatzke Orchards in Oyama, BC. It was an incredible wedding with thousands of personal, beautiful DIY details.


The groom, my handsome brother.

Tamara has been a part of my life for so long that my family has amalgamated her into their lives like an honorary Kushniruk (yeah…my maiden name is a doozy.) and it was amazing to see them there on such a momentous occasion.


My younger brother.


The day before the wedding was vibrating with the excitement of the day to come and we were treated to an incredible feast by Tamara’s other bridesmaid Liz and her husband/chef. Just thinking about the food and set-up makes me drool. It was amazing.



This wedding deserves its own Pinterest board.


The day of!




Tamara looked so beautiful. I felt such pride and love being a part of such a huge moment for her. Getting to watch her transform from my gorgeous friend into a stunning bride. Yes…when she slipped into her dress and turned around, I cried…a lot.

There are so many things about the day that made me smile. The guests and the decor (that I knew first hand contained all of our blood, sweat and tears), Tamara’s excitement seeing everything come together, Jerred’s very obvious adoration for the woman he was marrying, being maid of honor and having my girls be flower girls, getting to spend time in the gorgeous Okanagan. So, so, so many delightful and memorable moments.


Bridesmaids and two flower girls. (Thanks for the photo Liz!)

Mom and Girls

My mom and my two girls! (Thanks for the photo Mom!)

4 Sisters and Nova

My younger sister and I, with Nova.

Flower Girls

Flower girls! (Thanks for the photo Liz!)

Crazy Nova

Crazy looking Nova at the end of the night. (Thanks for the photo Liz!)

This wedding and Jerred and Tamara’s marriage is so close to my heart. I’m so looking forward to family holidays and get-togethers and for our children to be cousins. I can’t wait to see where their lives are headed and how much happier they are going to make one another. I cannot believe my good luck. I get a sister, my children get to have my friend in their lives in an entirely new capacity, and my FAMILY has gotten so much bigger and better. The things I have to say are so overwhelming, but I think it’s safe to say that when I think about my life, I feel more than blessed, I feel incredibly full of love. Both love received, and love given. And there’s a whole lot more to go around.

For the photos of Jerred and Tamara’s incredible day, stay tuned on their AMAZING photographer’s page: Blush Photography by Angela Waterberg. You DEFINITELY want to see these.

Tamara has always been a member of my chosen family, but I am so happy that on July 13th, she joined my “you have no choice” family.

Walking with Tamara

Blush Photography

Only one left…Nova – 23 Months

23 Jun


I’m not sure what’s making me more wistful, the fact that my baby is growing up or the fact that we’re almost out of number badges for her monthly photos. Ha. Taking her picture every as a way to document the passage of time has sometimes been a hassle and sometimes been therapeutic and has always been great to look back on. I’m so happy that I have photos of her teeny tiny baby face to lament over at 2am when I can’t sleep, or to pop into a photo album for her to look at someday. I feel proud of myself when I think of her realizing that every month (with the exception of one) I set aside time to hang out with her, just us two, and the camera. Sometimes her Dad or sister will pop in our out depending on the day, but it’s a solid 30 minutes to an hour of Mom watching her play, interact with her toys and books and clothing, and just hanging out. I make an effort to get involved with whatever she is doing multiple times a day, but sometimes shutting her bedroom door and everyone and everything else out is really nice. I can’t wait until my ladies are old enough for “dates” with Mom. Movies, lunches out, tea-time, whatever they’re into. I hope that making it a tradition will mean that when they’re into the double digits and needing space that, even if our hang-outs are paused, they’ll have good memories of them and eventually they’ll kick up again.


But back to Nova. Nova and her awesome, hilarious, spectacular little self. I feel a little bad for her because her birthday will fall on Father’s Day every few years. It’s not a terrible thing, but it means that sometimes her friends won’t be able to attend her birthday party, and sometimes she’ll have to share the day with her Dad, who deserves a little recognition. Heh. But maybe she’ll think it’s cool that BOTH of them get breakfast in bed, and BOTH of them get to watch whatever shows they want, and BOTH of them get to collaborate and decide on our activity for the day. Sometimes we can plan to have big backyard barbecues for Father’s Day that serve as Nova’s birthday party as well! I hope we can make it fun for her and keep any resentment or jealousy to a minimum.



In a fit of crazy, we decided that our big girl was ready for a big girl bed. She was almost 2, after all, and listening to her read books all morning long made us think that maybe she’d like a little more freedom. She took to it like a champ. We had a few tricky transitional days but after she learned how to stay in it (after a few nights sleeping on the floor or sliding off her mattress slowly and waking up confused and irritated) she loves it! Now at nap-time she grabs our hands, all of her blankets, and a couple of favorite books and we all head in to “nay dun” (lie down), “rit stawy” (read stories) and “wok beebee” (rock baby). My over-full Mom heart loves being able to lie my head beside hers and run my fingers through her hair until her eyes get sleepy and she decides it’s time for me to go. “Buh-bye! Nay nay.”



She can say so many things now. She runs around the house babbling like a mad woman but I can UNDERSTAND what she is saying.  I know what book she is reading because of what she SAYS, I can tell what she wants because most of the time she will TELL me. I feel like a whole new world has opened up before us full of untold opportunities and adventures! I love knowing what she’d like to do and watching her little brain at work while I reason with her. “Sorry Nova. No milk right now, but you can have some after your nap.” Woe is the adult who forgets to follow through on a promise though!

I also love watching her form relationships with other children in her life. She knows to be gentle with ALL babies now, not just her own sister. On days when I put her to bed and say, “When you wake up, we get to go see your friend Emery!” She wakes up full of vigor squealing, “Enry! Enry!” and I get so excited by how excited she is to play with her friend!


Life as Nova’s Mom isn’t without it’s challenges, she’s willful, defiant, stubborn, and very good at ignoring me, but the rewards are incredible. When my introverted, independent little girl wants a hug or a cuddle I expect fanfare and choirs of angels to appear and have to calm myself before I give away how excited I am. When she says, “Mum mum Mom” (Love you Mom) all on her own I feel like melting into a giant puddle of goo. The moments where she reminds me that the tantrums are a good thing, and the struggles are just a part of parenting, and that she is infinitely more amazing than frustrating are what make this all worthwhile, and they’re why I was so excited to be a parent. Not because I think I can do it “right” or “better” than anyone else. Not because I can follow every book I read and turn out a cookie cutter kid who will make me proud. No. I have and will make mistakes. I have and will do the wrong thing. I recently read an article by Lea Grover about how no parent is perfect and we all get to parenthood in different ways but in the end we’re the perfect parent for our particular child and that’s definitely worth something.


I don’t always do the right thing, but I always do my best, and whether Nova is 2 or 10 or 25 that will always be true.

“Congratulations, Best Mom in the World. You’re not perfect.
You are as good as anybody can get.”

Only one more photo shoot to go.

Lux – 4 Months

21 Apr


Aside from the lack of sleep, it’s pretty great having a baby in the house. What better reminder to slow down and just enjoy whatever moment you happen to be in? Lying on the floor smiling into her adorable little face is one of the highlights of my day. Her chubby cheeks and dimpled elbows make me want to lie in bed squishing her soft little body for hours…not that she’d let me.


Lux is a little power house! She’s rolling both ways and grasping at her feet as if to say, “Hey! I see you there!” She’s a tough cookie to crack when it comes to laughter but she gives out smiles like free candy at an Easter Parade! She doesn’t take her eyes off of big sis for even a second when they’re in the same room together and visions of her trailing after Nova, wanting desperately to be included in her amazing, inspiring view of the world remind me of my OWN younger sister trailing after ME. I hope that Nova will let her in and that they will be able to share in many amazing experiences together. I know that I’m glad my parents regularly forced me to bring Chantelle along, even if it was sometimes against my own wishes. I’m grateful that now she and I are wonderful friends. And my heart swells a little every time I see her name on our call display.


Lux has such a vast array of expressions! I fear that like her Sagittarius Mama, her emotions will always be evident on the surface of her face. Raised eyebrows, pursed lips, the corners of our eyes crinkling when we find something particularly amusing. I hope she has a deep belly laugh that bursts out of her often. I think she will be funny.


While she continues to grow in great leaps and bounds and the number on the scale increases we’re helping her sit up, hang on to her favorite toys, and indulging her when she tires of sitting in the multitude of children’s seats available in our tiny home. I won’t lie. I’m happy to hold her close any chance I can, and I’m happy that she would gladly sit with her back against my chest for hours if I didn’t have other things to do.

baby siblings

Fantasies of my two girls playing together, fighting with each other, and learning together are never far from my thoughts and I cannot wait to see what sort of relationship develops between them. I have such a different relationship with both of my siblings but each is full of love and laughter and the occasional misunderstanding. I’m so glad that I have two people I can share my upbringing with! We can laugh about our parents idiosyncrasies and come together in moments of hardship. I love the ways in which we are similar and that in spite of growing up in the same house we are still very different people.


Copyright Tamara Lakeman Photography.

I hope that my kids will be glad that they have siblings, because quite frankly, they’re stuck with each other now!