remy is four

I have been putting off writing this post for several reasons. One is because it is a daunting task to sum up just how much Remy has grown, mentally and emotionally, over the past year. Another part of me is in disbelief that my oldest child is now four. At the same time, I am so incredibly proud of this four-year-old.

If somebody told me to write one last letter to my daughter, this is what it would say.

To Remy on your birthday week,

You are one smart cookie. You can count to 100, forwards and backwards, can spell too many words to keep track of, know the words to an immeasurable amount of songs, can name almost any dinosaur, and have started writing on your own. You love to learn and it shows. I have a feeling that you will easily excel in school.

You are the sweetest girl and do not have a mean bone in your body. Sometimes you get frustrated and yell, but it’s more out of not understanding your big emotions as opposed to hate or malice. If you get a time out, you come out of your room saying “I’m so sorry mum, or I’m so sorry dad.” You have never physically harmed any living thing. I’ve witnessed a few children hit or kick you and run away and you never defend yourself. It is always me who runs over to you to tell you that they shouldn’t do that. I’ve also seen Po knock you down countless times, and you just get up and brush yourself off. You are so strong and so gentle.

You are polite. You always say please and thank you and ensure that everyone has what you have.

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You are sporty. If I had to choose a favourite right now I would say that it was either swimming or gymnastics. But you also love to dance, your trampoline, your aim and power with kicking a soccer ball is incredible, you love running, jumping, climbing “snow mountains,” parks, and our daily walks. You’re just an active girl.

You have never come across an animal that you didn’t love. Or want to take home. You beg me everyday to go to the zoo and a pet store. Sometimes I catch you watching hamster videos on YouTube during your afternoon quiet time, which is probably why you ask us now for a hamster.

You also love reading, travelling, dinosaurs, toys, running errands, playing, vehicles, music, clothes, crafts, baking, family, and children. You honestly have such a zest for life and there isn’t really anything you don’t like (except strange men).

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You went from being one of the biggest introverts I had ever seen to blossoming into a social butterfly. You are every child’s biggest cheerleader (see above) and “best friend.” You do not discriminate. You make sure that everyone is included in all things and at all times. You lead the way and ensure that everyone follows. Please keep up that attitude throughout all of your years.

You are still shy around adults that you don’t know very well, and need to practise sharing with your brother. Aside from that, and even with that, you are perfect.

I could go on and on about you. You are one of my greatest achievements, and I just know that you are going places. I love you I love you I love you. Happy fourth birthday, darling girl!

Love Mama

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museum of natural sciences

On a cold Monday morning not too long ago, we were looking for something fun to do with our children. We had planned on going to the Western Development Museum, but as luck would have it, it’s closed on Mondays. Instead, I googled museums in and around Saskatoon and one of the results was the Museum of Natural Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.

I have been to that museum many times. I would pass through it a few times a week on my way to class when I was a university student. I also used to work in that building as a research assistant five days a week prior to having children. I would drive to the university, park for free using my step-dad’s spare parking pass, grab a coffee from Tim Hortons, and head on up to the quiet library, staying for as long as I needed to. Oh, those were such easy and care-free days! How things have changed.

As for the museum itself, I had never thought about visiting it again because I had always regarded it more as a lobby filled with dinosaur bones- a place that you happen to pass through on your way from A to B, as opposed to a museum that you would take the time to visit. However, there is no admission fee and Remy is slightly obsessed with dinosaurs, so I thought that it would be an exciting adventure for both her and Wilder.

It didn’t matter to them that it is not that big from an adult’s standpoint. Because to children, it is! All that mattered was that there was so much to look at, open spaces to run around, and people to interact with.

While I was nervous about how loud and excited they were, the students and teachers seemed to find them amusing. We received so many laughs and comments. It was a fun and educational 45 minutes, and I recommend it to anyone living in Saskatoon that has young children and an hour or so to spend doing something fun. Best of all, it doesn’t cost anything.

Emory

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oarsman photography

Last week I had mentioned very briefly that I started working as a freelance photographer again. This is true! Although I never truly “gave it up” (I do submit articles with pictures for a magazine every two months), and occasionally I get paid for my blog posts, I have decided to seriously dive into it again.

It seems like almost a lifetime ago that I was operating as a new photographer under the name Prudence & Me. In my mind, it was a temporary name for a part-time job that I was only just finding my footing in. I began it to help pay the bills, only to stop when I became pregnant. Every session I learned new techniques. I tried to keep the moments candid and gave little direction. My photos were becoming darker with greater contrast and I hadn’t yet found a niche that I wanted to focus on. The name bugged me, but I didn’t want to change it until I was certain that I was going to keep going with it. I had also been saving up for a new camera and lens, only to eventually use that money elsewhere.

After months of mulling it over, I finally feel as if it is time to start it up again. The first thing that I did was change the name to Oarsman Photography (after Remy, whose name means ‘oarsman’ in French). I wanted a more masculine sounding photography name so I could appeal to a wider group of clients. Then I made a website and an Instagram page.

In the last month I have shot a couple’s session, engagement, wedding, mother and son, and family. I feel like my style is still evolving and even though I got a new camera and lens, I am saving up for a better lens. Until then, here are a few pictures from those sessions.

Emory

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one year old!

This week has been one of deep reflection for me. On Friday November 15, our Wild One will be one year old! This has been one of the fastest and happiest years of my life.

Geoffrey and I had always planned on naming our son Wilder, even years before I became pregnant for the first time. In 2016 came Remy, then our second baby Rowen who I lost in 2017, and finally, Wilder in 2018.

Wilder was and is our rainbow baby. He brought us great hope when we felt lost and sad.

He has been the sweetest, loveliest, and most easy-going baby from the start. I remember being pregnant and at the end of each day I would jump up and down and shake my belly in order to get some type of movement. He was just always so content in there and hardly ever moved around. The only thing that he would seem to move for was the sound of Remy’s voice. He would start dancing whenever she was being particularly loud! I was therefore certain that they would have a strong bond once he was born. That has definitely been the case! These two are as tight as can be.

Because he was so calm in my uterus, I questioned whether or not we should name him Wilder (if he turned out to be a boy) almost the entire time that I was pregnant. That is, until he was born. It was such a wild birth that everyone who met him afterwards said that he had already lived up to his name. After that, I never doubted our choice again.

Wilder is sweet and calm but with an adventurous side. He loves climbing and isn’t afraid to explore any furniture or object that stands in his way. He loves everyone and enjoys waving to and playing peekaboo with strangers. He can out-wave anyone!

He babbles constantly, says a few words, crawls, stands unassisted (!!), walks by only holding onto one of our hands and by pushing anything that moves across the house, loves to people watch, is sensitive, is a pretty good sleeper, still breastfeeds, and still has no teeth! I don’t know what will come first at this point- walking or teeth. He’s pretty close to both, I think.

Anytime I feel sad about him getting older I have to remember that it is a good thing. He is happy, healthy, and thriving. It is only natural that he will keep growing! This is also such a special time in my life- being pregnant and having children. I almost feel like my life is a fairy-tale. Once this phase is over, I will never again get to experience anything even remotely similar. Thus I am trying to soak in every moment that is humanly possible!

I am writing this post on November 10, 2019. On this exact date in 2017, when my niece was getting baptized, I found out that I was pregnant with our second child. While this time of year is one for rejoicing, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness around our baby that I never came to know or hold. Remembrance Day alone is one for sombreness and reflection, and I will certainly be doing a lot of that during this week- for many reasons. We are blessed to live where we do and lead the life that we have. Sadness aside, I am truly thankful as well.

I wanted to include a prayer for Remembrance Day that was in our church bulletin:

Loving God,
Have mercy on your people,
And open our hearts to peace and love.
Reward all who have died for the country,
And grant that Canada
And all nations
May continue to work
For peace and justice.
Bless us in your service,
And help us to follow Jesus Christ,
Who is our Saviour and our Lord
Forever and ever.
Amen

If you are still reading this, thank you for joining me in my pregnancy journey and Wilder’s first year of his life! Also, for following me through all these trains of thought, trips down memory lane, and emotions. Here are a few pictures that I wanted to include because I have never shared them on my blog (or social media). Gosh, how my darling son has grown.

We will be celebrating Wilder this Saturday with the few family members that love him and have been in his life since the beginning.

Have a lovely lovely lovely week, everyone!

Emory

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our canadian vacation

This August, I packed up the kids and took them on a two week vacation to British Columbia. Not a fan of flying, I chose to instead drive the 4000 km (round trip). We spent the first eleven days driving there and then venturing across the province. We stayed with family in various parts and went to at least one attraction everyday. A lot of the time, we did two things. Naps were skipped and we were wiped out by the end of each day, but in the best way possible. Geoffrey then flew out to meet us on the twelfth day, and drove back with us over the next three days.

Before leaving, I prayed that it would go well and that we would make it back safely. So many things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. God certainly kept us out of harm’s way, and we had the trip of a lifetime. Here are the highlights taken from the day Geoff joined us until we made it home.

August 28:

Early that morning my brother, Wilder, and I picked up Geoff from the airport and we met Remy, her cousins, and my sister-in-law at a nearby park and lake. We visited for less than 1 hour then sadly said goodbye. Thus began our trip as a family of four.

We made it to 3 Valley Gap around noon. We had already stopped at the ghost town on our way through about two weeks prior. We loved it so much that we decided to visit it again, this time bringing dada.

We explored old buildings, rode a train, played, ate, and ran around. It is such a fun place to visit, and spending a couple hours there is almost not enough time. Revelstoke is definitely a city of immense possibilities for families, from the Enchanted Forest to the Locomotive Museum. It is one that I look forward to visiting again and again.

After leaving 3 Valley Gap, we drove for a few more hours and made it to Golden, BC that evening. I had already stayed the night in Golden with the kids, and knew that there weren’t any attractions in the small but beautiful town. That said, we still needed something to do that evening as well as the next morning before hitting the road. I therefore asked Geoff to book us a room at the Kicking Horse mountain resort, hoping that there would be trails and/or parks within walking distance.

Located just outside of Golden, it is one of the most picturesque places that I have ever been to. We acquired a room at Winston Lodge and given that the busy season was just ending, a room turned out to be the same price as one at a lower-rate hotel within Golden.

The lodge reminded me of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO. It was huge, beautiful, homey, full of history, had amazing food, and so much more. Guys, if you need to stay the night in Golden, please stay at the lodge or anywhere else in the Kicking Horse resort. What a gorgeous end to an overall fun and fulfilling day.

August 29:

The next morning we ate our complimentary breakfast. Then we went back to our room, packed up, and headed to a park before returning to the road once again. I didn’t want to leave, and wished that we could have stayed another night. Being in the mountains and in a secluded resort felt so freeing! I would have loved to explore the trails and ride the gondola for one more day. Alas, we had to go.

Our next stop was in Banff, AB. We drove through the Rocky Mountains and made it there within two hours.

Once in Banff we parked downtown and went to Central Park so Remy and Wilder could run around and work up an appetite. Then we walked the main street until we settled on a restaurant. After we ate, we went shopping. Afterwards, we returned to our vehicle and loaded everyone up.

Our final destination that day was Drumheller, AB. We arrived around supper time and went straight to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Remy is in love with dinosaurs, and so naturally she had a blast. We chased her around the museum, going from exhibit to exhibit, naming all of the dinosaurs. Wilder sat content in his stroller.

At the end of the museum visit, she and Geoff climbed the large hill outside, and Wilder and I took photos of them from below. What an amazing place for children!

August 30:

The next day was dedicated to the long drive back home. Although our time with Geoff was short, it became our favourite family vacation to date.

Emory

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