Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Birthday Surprise

Yesterday was my birthday but since it fell on a Monday, the kids decided to surprise me and celebrate on Sunday. Ben and I had had two late nights in a row so Ben stumbled downstairs to put on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for Oslo and Indigo, coming back to bed proudly saying that the film was over two and a half hours, not including credits!! We happily slipped back to sleep knowing we wouldn't be the sleep deprived grumps we would otherwise have been if we'd bounced out of bed at the outrageous hour of 7:30. But at 9:30, the kids came in, while we could still hear the sound of the film playing in the den below our bedroom. When I asked why they weren't watching the film, they confided that they had been busy preparing my birthday surprise and it was finally ready. So I stumbled out of bed, make up still on from the night before, though now smeared down my cheeks rather than elegantly highlighting my eyes, and headed down the corridor. "Follow the signs" the kids had gushed excitedly as they handed me a darling little gift certificate .

I wandered down the hall and they stopped me at the church pew at the top of the stairs. Magazines were laid out, as well as crystals and sweet little "business" cards saying www.oslospa.com and www.Indigo.com - too darling.

I fell madly in love with the concept of the cup below, and especially the spelling. Why is it that when they are little, you think their misspellings and mispronunciations of words are cute, but once you get older, it is a cardinal sin?

While I was waiting, Oslo came up the stairs with a snack to tide me over - hello cute kids - where did he see this idea before?

Finally, the kids came out and said "Next!" When I came into the tower (our funky old Bermuda house foyer). First thing I saw was all their signs saying "happy birthday mummy" with little drawings of flowers and fireworks - just so thoughtful and lovely.

I hadn't even noticed in my bleary eyed early morning mode that the kids were wearing matching spa uniforms - seriously, how do they know this stuff. The thing is, my friend Alexa had said the day before that it was my birthday and if ever there was a day I should treat myself and go to the spa, that would be it and I just guffawed the idea saying I never did that! And the very next day, I found myself in my own personalised spa - it was just too dreamy to be true.

This is the first spot I was placed. I sat here and Oslo worked on my shoulders while Indigo took my feet into her lap and massaged my feet.

Next they moved me onto the floor here where they lay down a towel and a pillow and had me lie on my stomach. This is where it got really good. Oslo massaged my back up and down from the shoulders down my spine and all along my ribs which at first I thought was weird but actually felt amazing. And Indigo literally stood on my feet which felt so nice. She then moved onto standing on my buttocks and her wobbling around to balance really massaged me where I needed it too which sounds totally gross and I suppose was if anyone were watching, but I was fully in the moment and loved every second! If you can believe it, I wanted to say massage harder to Indigo but I would suppose that would mean becoming heavier which wasn't going to happen immediately.

Next, they had me lie on my back on this sofa and each took a hand and they both massaged at the same time. I taught them how to squeeze the blood into the tips of the fingers which they both mastered easily so I was melting at this point.

My only complaint at this fabulous spa was when I was offered the delicious edible items, the staff helped themselves at the same time. Between their smacking and crunching of apples combined with their one handed massages while they feasted seemed a little unprofessional to say the least! I suppose one can't complain when it is a new business just setting up so I will recommend a suggestions box and put in my two cents the next time round.

Oslo had also made all these adorable cards and flyers as part of the spa which were just too darling for words.

Rather loved their array of crystals too. One of my favourite moments the whole morning was when Oslo asked me if I had any pain anywhere. I was lying on the floor on my tummy at this point and when I told him my lower back was rather achey, he placed a rose quartz at the centre of my L4/L5 and told me this was a healing crystal. How heavenly is this kid?

 At the end of the massages, the children gave me their gifts, complete with home decorated wrapping paper.

Oslo and Indigo - I could have wept a thousand times over the extended birthday you gave me - I truly think it was the best birthday yet with your thoughtfulness and creativity overflowing. I loved every moment and am so very very thankful to have the two of you in my life - this happiness I feel is the best birthday gift any mama bear could ever wish for. Love you two too much. xxxx

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ryan, Jenn, Josh and Ryley

I have photographed this family at least six times, from their wedding at Ariel Sands to pregnancies on the beach to several family sessions at Fort Scaur, Botanical Gardens and Spital Pond. This year, they were keen to do their annual photo shoot at their gorgeous new home where they have been having so much fun in their lovely garden. Ryan and Jenn had built a magnificent play castle out of refrigerator boxes for the kids' joint birthday the weekend before so the shoot was perfect timing since the elements had yet to destroy it and the novelty was still high.

 Josh had turned five and Ryley turned three and they chose a knight and princess party so as you can imagine, the castle was a hit at the party. They boys coloured wooden shields and Jenn's parents had made red and blue tunics and found foam swords for "jousting" into rings. The girls came dressed as princesses and made big princess hats and did a treasure hunt. Then everyone played with the wooden catapults that Ryan and Jenn's father had made. All round, it was an amazing birthday party and were full of those magical moments that childhood is all about.


Jenn had seen my photos of Indigo (my daughter) in her spotty dress with these balls and since Ryley had almost the identical dress, she thought it would be fun to include the balls for some of the photos of Ryley.

The other big news for the family, aside from moving house, was their new puppy, Cooper. He is the most gorgeous labradoodle you have ever seen, but what do you expect, with such fine lineage - his father happens to be our beloved dog, Cairo!!! Cooper was only four months (and already bigger than his papa bear!) and just such a bundle of fuzz puff love that I had trouble concentrating. I could have gobbled him up in one mouthful!

The other highlight was that Jenn's parents, Helen and Peter, were visiting their grand children and although they were nearing the end of their stay, they were thrilled to do more of what they have been up to for a large portion of the holiday, and that was pushing the kids on the swings.

Lego is a favourite or the kids and they love to build things with their parents.

Another fun family pastime is all of them reading together. At the time, "Superworm", by Julia Donaldson, was one of the kids' favourite, as well as "In The Castle" due to their birthday party theme.


At the end of the shoot, Jenn brought out some special birthday cupcakes for the kids. They were so sweetly decorated with each of their ages in mini marshmallows on top.

These two photos of Josh are particularly amusing since he didn't actually eat the cupcake. He is one of those rare kids who doesn't actually like to get messy - can you imagine - lucky mama bear! So he pretended to eat it, and then lost interest and that was the end of Josh and his birthday cupcake.


Ryley on the other hand, has no qualms about getting filthy. She was definitely not pretending as she tucked into her cupcake (how delish is it that her purple pants match the purple icing!).

By the end, her hands and face were covered - and she was in heaven.

Since I shot Ryan and Jenn's wedding, I always like to try to get at least one shot of them having a cuddle just the two of them. So cute.


Thanks to all of you for such a wonderfully intimate and personal shoot - I really feel like we captured your family and all you love to do - just the little moments that make life so special and photographing them makes me love my job so much more! Love to you all and see you next year! xxx