Friday, December 31, 2010

One Little Word.

(It's nice to see that even after having a baby, I still have the knack for taking cheesy self portraits, ha!)

Warning: This post is long and rambling, but I've been wanting to say all of this for awhile, so it cannot be shortened.

I have decided to have a 'one little word' for 2011.  This is based on Ali Edward's concept of having a word to focus on and inspire you over the year.  I've never done it before and wasn't planning on participating, but over the past month or so, a word kept creeping into my mind, nagging at was a case where the word found me, not the other way around.

My word for 2011 is RISK(s).  More specifically, taking them, embracing them and learning from them.

The definition of the word risk is pretty simple:
risk  (rsk)
1. The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.
2. A factor, thing, element, or course involving uncertain danger; a hazard.

Now, of course, I won't be taking any physical risks or putting myself into any 'real' danger over the next 12 months, but I've been inspired and motivated to take risks of a different kind instead.

Risks with my mind,
my heart,
my family,
my image,
myself, and
my future.

I'm basically looking at the word in two ways:

Taking risks with the little things.  This is how I plan to 'get my feet wet' with taking risks.  You see, I'm pretty afraid of taking chances.  I've lived a very safe life nearly my whole life, mostly because of an intense fear of rejection, confrontation, embarrassment, and failure.  I'm definitely one of those people who stays away from the ledge, makes the easy choices, doesn't like to gamble, and cringes when watching people who obviously can't sing try out for American Idol.  I feel the failure for them, how crazy is that?  But now that I have dreams that are somewhat outside of the 'safe' zone, I've realized that taking risks is something that I can no longer avoid, and so I'm going to try and face the fear and embrace the risks I need to take.  

Of course, there are 'risks' that involve very little...well, risk.  Foolish things that may seem easy to others, but for me, would be considered a step outside of my comfort zone.  Things like:

*Dyeing my hair a different colour and/or cutting it short 
*Wearing clothes that I don't normally wear and may not consider 'flattering'
*Looking people in the eye when talking to them
*Painting my rooms a crazy colour when everyone else is doing white
*Eating out or seeing a movie alone 
*Calling my friends instead of emaling them
*Talking honestly about my successes and failures on this blog

These are all small things that I plan on doing more in the New Year, because they are relatively easy and pain-free.  It's a step in learning not to care so much of what others think of me and doing what I WANT to do, not what I think would be safe to do (meaning no one will laugh at/judge me).

But then, there's the more serious side of the word...

Taking risks with the big things.  Honestly, this part scares the shit out of me.  There's one risk in particular that I will be taking in 2011 that basically prompted this whole personal revolution of mine and drilled the word 'risk' into my head...

I want to work full-time as a photographer. 


My word, even writing it down has me all trembly.

Why is this so hard for me to declare?  Because I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what people will say and think, especially in this big, bad, anonymous Internet world.  I'm afraid that I'm not talented enough, that I'm stealing other people's jobs (in Sussex, NB, no less! [insert sarcasm here]), that I'm not educated enough, that I'm just a poseur 'mamarazzi', and that I will FAIL.

I do not like to fail.

This past year I've been extremely fortunate in having so many wonderful people allow me to capture their memories for them.  I did 30 sessions in 8 months, some paid, some not, but all incredibly satisfying and rewarding.  I learned a lot and discovered a type of work that I really enjoyed.  Loved, even.  I received a lot of praise, but was also personally challenged.  Everyone kept asking me 'will you be doing this once your maternity leave is up?'  I wish I had been confident enough to say 'yes, I am', but I always brushed the question off, saying instead 'oh, I hope so', or 'we'll see'.  I was afraid risking the answer. But it's what I want, and so this year, I'm taking the plunge.

I don't have a job lined up for when my maternity leave is up in March.  I don't plan on looking for one.  I will be applying for a government grant that will help me financially for the first year as I get my business up and running.  If I don't get it, I will try to do it on my own.  I am working on a business plan.  I am considering getting a business loan (or at least borrowing some money from a very supportive father).  I am investing in new gear.  I am working on a website and blog.  I am posting photos on Facebook and asking for attention. I want to take a few courses in photography, editing and accounting. I am going to learn to say "I am a photographer" with confidence and not be afraid of the response.

I'm taking the risk. 

(There are other 'big' risks that I want to take this year, but I'll probably include them in my "Goals for 2011" post, since this has already become quite novel-esque...) 

So there you have it, my one [big] little word for 2011.  I plan on placing this word, and the quote above, somewhere prominent in my home/office so that I can reminded of it whenever I get off path or become complacent.  I'm not sure if I will do anything crafty to go along with it, like Ali's class, but we shall see.  It's not about the crafts, or completing a project.  It's about the word and honouring it.

2011, I can't wait for you to start.


Victor's Loot

I know we said we weren't going to go crazy with presents for Victor this year since it was his first Christmas and he didn't really understand the concept, but man, did he ever get a lot of presents!  Dan and I actually just bought him three gifts, but 2 sets of loving grandparents and a few aunts and uncles later, he ended up with quite a few new toys, which is nice I suppose since all of his toys right now are hand-me-downs (not that he knows the difference!)

Anyway, here are a few of the things he got.  I didn't save any links, if you're wondering about a particular toy just let me know...  

My mom got him a Leapfrog magnet set, since he loves pulling magnets off of the fridge these days...

"Where's the bone?" fabric book, from Dan.  He doesn't like this one too much yet, maybe when he's older.

Tupperware Shape-O-Toy, from me.

This isn't a toy, but since he's been waking up every night from being stuffed up, it was a welcome present (from my parents).

This was the 'big' one; a ride-on Buzz Lightyear toy from Grampie John.  So many buttons to push and play with, and it's the perfect size...this might be favourite of all (so far anyway!)

Grampie John also got him a Mega Bloks table, except it's Cars themed (I couldn't find a picture of it).

This is probably his second favourite right now, the Playskool pop up toy.  I remember having one of these as a kid and loving it, some things never go out of style :) (Same with the Shape-O-Toy, I remember having one when I was young too.)

This is probably MY favourite toy; a beautiful set of wooden blocks by Djeco, a French toymaker.  My sister-in-law Sarah got these for me, I LOVE them, they are so cute, natural, open-ended, and Victor will play with them for a long time (or so I hope, right now he just chews on them, ha!)

My parents also got Victor a ride-on toy, but this one is a bit different, since the seat splits open and Victor can walk with it (although he hasn't really mastered it yet).  He loves the buttons and lights on his head though :)

My mom didn't realize that I had also bought Victor a magnet set, so now he has 2, but it worked out since one set is at my mom's and one set is at home.  I bought him the farm set (the great thing about these magnet toys is that they are bilingual so I have them on the French setting.)

Matante Daphné got him another classic toy, a Mr. Potato Head.

Great Nan (Dan's nan) bought each Victor and Rowan a cute polka dot piggy bank, I love them!  Now we have somewhere to put all those spare pennies (future allowance/college fund, haha)

Since my parents don't have a highchair at their house and the Bumbo is too small, my dad bought Victor this jungle booster seat, which is really cute.  I'll probably get a similar one for home since I'm tired of having the high chair in the kitchen.

Wow!  See, a little bit spoiled, don't you think?  He also got some things not pictured here, including a few Christmas tree ornaments (I'm thinking about starting a tradition of giving Victor an ornament every year until he moves out, then he can take them all with him to set up a tree with his future wife someday...cute, eh?), some clothes, books, and other randoms.

As for Dan and I, we got the usual (PJs, chocolates, undies, scratch tickets, socks, magazines).  Dan got a new lunchbox and work boots, and I got some new kitchen stuff, which I needed and appreciate.  We're getting to the point where we really don't need or want much at Christmas so I'm trying to make it not about the gifts, but with a kid now I don't think that's going to be completely avoidable.

What did you get for Christmas?  Santa didn't bring me my Canon L-lens or 5D Mark II, maybe next year :S

Be back soon with some more end-of-year schtuff.

Until then,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas with the Flynns

Another Christmas has come and gone, and it was just as lovely as ever.  We spent it with family, watched the babies play, ate lots of yummy food (too much in fact), relaxed and did all the wonderful things you are supposed to do at Christmastime. 

On Christmas Eve we went to Dan's dad's place for our yearly seafood casserole and opened presents.  Victor did pretty well with the whole situation (meaning he didn't cry or freak out, haha)  He's obviously still too young to understand or open the gifts himself, but he was more than happy to play with what he was given.  We then headed back to McAdam for the night, and had Christmas morning there.  Seeing my little nephews (who are old enough to understand) go crazy on Christmas morning was really fun.  Victor was actually asleep for both of the gift opening sessions that morning, but I enjoyed opening the gifts for him!  We then had a big breakfast and hung out for a bit before heading back to Sussex to have turkey supper and more gift opening at my parents' place.  We spent Boxing Day at home, recovering, and surrounded by boxes and new toys (I'll probably do a separate mini post on what Victor got, since I'll want to remember for his baby book or something...)

Anyway, here are some photos from the day (I'm trying to use storyboards to cut down on the post size, click on the image to see them larger.)

Babies' first Christmas together, so fun.  Also, Skyping with our California family is always a special part (even though we need better webcams for the future!)


 Victor loved watching Dan play with Hayden's trains, I know what Victor will be getting next year for Christmas (or his birthday in a couple of months, eek!)

I feel like I have so much blogging to do this week, I have some personal posts I want to share (which will be nice for a change!), so hopefully I'll be back soon.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoy the New Year (we have no plans, of course.)

Until then,

Monday, December 27, 2010


(Yay, I actually posted one on time...only one day late!)

Well, it's getting close to the end, only 1 more monthly update after this one and then the big 1-year update is already here!  It, like everything else this year, is going to sneak up on me I'm sure, but I'm trying to get myself ready for it...hopefully no break downs ensue.

Alright, Victor's 10-month update, let's go!

-Stats: Weight at 9 months (since I didn't post it last time)-18lbs, 6 oz, Height-unsure.  Weight at 10 months-around 19 lbs Height-28 inches or so.  He's in the 12th-14th percentile for weight, not sure about height though. 

-Wearing 6 and 6-12 month pjs, 6-12 month pretty much everything else, and I even pulled out some 12-18 month shirts that fit him!  Still in size small diapers but I'm thinking of switching over to the mediums in the New Year.

-Sleeping pretty much through the night most nights, except for the occasional night when he wakes up because his nose is stuffed up and he can't breathe (which means spitting out his soother and waking up).  I've been putting Vick's Vapo-Rub on the corner of his receiving blanket or on my arm so that he can breathe it in for a few minutes to clear his nose and then he goes back to sleep; it's usually no more than a 10-minute thing.  Lately he's been staying up later than I would like, usually around 9:00pm or later, and waking up a bit later, at around 8:00am.  Napping at least twice a day, and this month he has had some marathon naps, 2 hours or more, unheard of!

-Breastfeeding only once a day (from each side, so I guess two feedings), usually in the morning, and on occasion when comfort (or a distraction) is needed.  My supply feels really low so I imagine that in the next month or so we'll be completely done (which is kind of harder than I thought it would be, I guess that even though I don't enjoy breastfeeding, I like having the option of doing it if it I need to...soon I have won't have the choice.)

-Eating has grown substantially this month, both in quantity and variety.  In the last two weeks or so Victor has doubled, if not more, his intake of food.  Just out of nowhere, he started wanting to eat everything in sight and eating lots of it.  It still catches me off guard sometimes, I'm always thinking 'what, you want MORE?'  It's good though, I think that he's replacing breast milk with food, which is what we want.  Most mornings he'll either eat an entire small jar fruit or a small bowl of baby cereal, plus some Cheerios to munch on, then for dinner he'll have some veggies and meat (a lot of times it's leftovers from supper the night before), or some crackers and yogurt, then for supper he's been eating what we've been having when possible, if not then more veggies and meat (made by me), plus a dessert.  He'll also get some snacks throughout the day, and a 10oz bottle of formula before bed.  It might not seem like a lot compared to some babies, but for him it's a huge improvement!  This month he also seems to have dropped any picky-ness he had towards food, there's not much he won't eat!  I also love that he's eating what we're eating and seems to enjoy stronger flavours.  I had some leftover garlic mashed potatoes (heavy on the minced garlic) one night and gave those to him and he loved it!  He also had some homemade mac and cheese and last night ate meatloaf (made with quinoa) and rice with veggies.  So much easier when they can eat what you eat!  Anyway, it's going really well, the only issue so far is me being consistent in feeding him! 

-Related to the eating and sleeping more mentioned above, we're pretty sure that he's gone through a pretty big growth spurt this month, he definitely feels bigger than before, putting on a bit of heft (though not in his little bum, it's the same size, ha!) 

-Still only has the 2 bottom teeth, which is crazy, he's gone over 2-3 months without getting a tooth, I kind of hope he gets more soon!

-The big milestone this month has been crawling on all fours. At the beginning of December it was like a little switch went off in his mind and he all of a sudden figured out how to crawl properly, and now he's on the move! He's quite a bit quicker than he used to be, we have to watch out because he can be in one spot one minute and a different spot the next! He also pulls up/stands leaning against objects with no problem now, it's his favourite thing to do. He's starting to balance better when standing and is now walking around the coffee table and along the couch, but doesn't seem to want to let go anytime soon. I still don't think he'll walk before he's one, but that's ok, I'm not in a rush. 

His new stunt, climbing into the chair as opposed to out of it!

-One less-than-wonderful thing that Victor has mastered this month is pulling up on our legs and begging to be picked up.  He does this to me every single time he sees me, no matter what.  He still also wants to be in our arms more than I'd like, but I don't think that this is something that can be avoided...he's a mama's boy/clingy child, that's all there is to it. 

-He's got his babbling mastered this month too, stringing along little sounds into I'm sure what he thinks are words and sentences.  He's good at repeating what we ask him to say (dada or baba or bye bye), but he hasn't really learned any new sounds like mama or anything else.  He still likes to squeal/sigh now, it's cute, and when he's with just us he's quite vocal, but is still a bit shy about talking around strangers.

-I'd say that his favourite 'toy' this past month has been anything that makes noise and has buttons.  He loves to push buttons and hear the sounds, over and over again.  He also really loves magnets/playing on the fridge, playing with light switches, pulling things down off the coffee table, and chewing on anything he sees.  This month we also started playing ball with him (below), which he likes and finds quite funny.

-He's getting a lot braver with Shimi, coming right up to her face and 'talking' (yelling) at her, and also 'petting' (smacking) her.  He especially likes to bug her while she's trying to eat.  I'm not sure what she thinks of it, but for the most part she's been good with him.

-He loves to watch the washing machine run, which is pretty cute (and convenient) for me!  Anything to do with water, actually, he likes.  Most nights when Dan gets home from work and hops into the shower, Victor wants to be right in there with him, and will stand on the side of the bathtub, watching him (and getting himself soaked in the process).  He'll do this with me too, which is nice since I can pretty much take a shower whenever now, because I know he'll just stand there and wait.  The only downside is having to change him afterwards into dry clothes, haha.


-He's learning to do new things with his body, especially his hands. He now likes to hold them above his head, often reaching for a light or ceiling fan, or just anything in general.  He also really likes to 'bobble' his head, shaking it back and forth.  He especially loves to do it when you do it too, and we play this shaking head game often.  Sometimes he'll do it to music, but he hasn't learned to 'dance' yet, I can't wait for when that happens!

I am the champion!

-Victor loves to laugh, play, and interact with us, and for the most part is still a very happy child.  He can get frustrated, or be stubborn, or have his 'bad boy' moments, but that comes with the territory of growing up.  Any hard moments are far outweighed by the good ones; by the huge smiles, happy squeals, cuddles (yes I still get them), bright eyes, little and big laughs, and by the joy of having him in our lives.  

Happy 10-months bébé, stop growing up so fast.


PS-I'll be attempting to post our Christmas pictures this week, along with my New Year's Goals and Word for 2011 (I've decided that I'm going to have one, can't wait to share!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Popping in to say...

Just wanted to pop in quick and say a big Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noël to everyone in blog land!  We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, spending it with family, eating lots of yummy food, watching our little nephews go crazy and enjoying Victor's first Christmas experience.  We're now back home, amongst the boxes, bags and toys, relaxing.  The dishes, cleaning, and regular life can resume tomorrow; for now, I'm going to get into my new fuzzy pajamas, put the bébé to bed and snuggle with my main man :)

Back soon with Victor's 10-month update.  I hope you all had a safe, wonderful and peaceful holiday season.


PS-These are the photos I sent out with our Christmas cards this year.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This is what I see.

This is my view most days.  A 10-month old who loves to climb up my pant legs and asks (aka whines) to be picked up.  Dozens of times a day, it's always the same.  And as much as it tires me out to pick him up every time, to stop what I'm doing, to calm him down or make him smile, I'm trying to do it with a happy heart, because soon he won't be pulling at me anymore, and I have a feeling I'll one day miss it.

Happy Sunday (and only-6-days-'til-Christmas-day) to you.

PS-It's almost time to write out our New Year's Goals, yay! Have you thought about yours yet?  I have and can't wait to get them down!

PPS-Check out this super sweet post from one of my fav photographers, Tara Swain.  Watch the video and try not to cry (I couldn't, it hit pretty close to home...)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vive le Québec!

This past weekend, Dan and I took our long-anticipated trip to Montreal to see UFC 124, and I have to say, it was completely and utterly awesome!  We were really lucky, weather-wise, the roads were good, we got to relax and see a new city, watch some awesome fights, and spend a lot of alone time together.  The only downside? It was way too short.

A few highlights:

*A 10-hour drive that seemed much shorter, partly thanks to Jon Stewart's audio book of Earth (totally hilarious, we listened to it twice!)

*Working on the tassels for Victor's blanket (almost done!)

*Stopping at the Irving Big-Stop for lunch and breakfast (Maritimers will know why this is a good thing)

*Seeing Notre Dame cathedral in Old Montreal (pictures below)  I never, ever, ever get tired of seeing beautiful churches.

*Walking down St-Catherine's Street and seeing all the Christmas displays and holiday shoppers bustling about


*A heavenly king size bed. Enough said ;)

*Sleeping in (related to super comfy bed mentioned above)

*Eating sushi (yumm!) and having a few drinks for the first time in a looong time.

*Watching Georges St-Pierre kick Koscheck's ass for 5 straight rounds (and seeing lots of other good fights too)  I can totally see Dan and I becoming UFC live event junkies after this (hello Toronto in April!)

*Hearing the Montreal Symphony practice Handel's Messiah in the cathedral as we toured around

*Swimming in the hotel swimming pool (my first time swimming since Croatia in August of 09!)

*Testing out my next lens purchase (oooh man I loved it and want it NOW)

*Not worrying about naps or feedings or tripping over toys

*Wearing bras (non uni-boob sports bras that is), jewelry, a dress, heels, make-up, and generally having some time to put into my appearance

*Dan. Talking with, walking with, laughing with, kissing, and focusing on Dan

We're already excited for our next trip together and have decided that we need to make this happen from time to time, even if it means going without a few things for a little while to be able to afford it.  I HIGHLY recommend that parents get away together whenever they can, whether it be date nights or yearly trips, I know that it's going to be a life saver for us over the next 20 or so years, ha!

Anyway, here are a few pics from the trip (I've realized that I suck at taking vacation pictures, I just don't feel like pulling out my big DSLR for every little thing...again, I need a point and shoot and/or cellphone camera!)

Floor to ceiling windows in our 15th floor hotel room...freaked me out a little, honestly.

This is actually Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, it's a 1/2 scale replica of St Peter's in Rome...

Me with my boyfriend :)

Our computer fritzed out on us earlier this week so I'm surviving on a very lean Internet and computer diet (using the Playstation and TV), so I hope to be back next week, if the Christmas to-do list doesn't crush me first.

Until then,