Orange Spicy Chips

This February, we took a family trip down to my parents’ condo in Bucerias, Mexico (25 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta). We booked it just over a week in advance and altered our itinerary to 18 days from the 10ish days we originally had talked about. It was the absolute best decision as the Edmonton area experienced a ‘polar vortex’ for virtually the entire month. Environment Canada issued extreme cold warnings almost every day… resulting in an absurd 60°C temperature difference!

The last time we took the girls to the condo was November of 2017. So Brynlee was about 2 ½ and Jess was 8 months. Apparently I didn’t blog about it… & perhaps that’s because my fuzzy memory just includes Jessie being super miserable & irritable while cutting a gazillion teeth.

Luckily, Mexico has grown on Jess and she enjoyed it just as much as her sister! They shared a room and bonded in a way I couldn’t have imagined. It certainly made the long nights and busy days with two very young children, extremely worth it.

Unsurprisingly our little fish spent every possible second swimming in the pool and making up games. I recall her not being super thrilled about being in the ‘big’ pool on her own. However, this year accompanied by her fantastic water wings we were all comfortable with her just doing her thing – getting in and out of the pool, going from the small pool to the big pool – all by herself.

Our first few nights were spent next door in a very generous family friends’ unit. Brynlee got to sleep in her very first bunkbed and the girls were thrilled to be able to slip on sandals and hop, skip or jump their way over to see their cousins.

Having their cousins there with them certainly made an already amazing experience even more exciting. Growing up, I did not have the luxury of living close to any of my cousins. So seeing them play all together certainly made my heart explode.

Christmas 2018


This year was the best Christmas yet with the girls. We all went to go see Santa Claus, Brynlee 100% got the concept and Jessie was totally mesmerized by all the lights and decorations.

The girls helped me decorate the house.

And helped Craig decorate the outside of the house.

We went to Glow Edmonton to check out the million twinkling lights and had a blast. See my full blog post here.

Craig and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on December. 20th. The same day that our nephew came into this world!

On Christmas Eve we baked sugar cookies and went skating with friends. In the evening we watched Small Foot and put the final touches on the Christmas tree.

We played in the snow A LOT. And celebrated two Christmas’ surrounded by our amazing families.

Jessie’s

[as per December 10th, 2018]

Starts her day off by asking where all of her important people are: ‘where’s Mommy’ ‘where’s Daddy’ ‘where’s Binny’ ‘where’s Floydy’ etc.

Stuns us every single day by spouting off new words, phrases and/or sentences.

Went from no vs. noooooo (yes) to 
Mhm
Ya
Yeah peeeeease (with an adorable little sign)
to Yup

Occasionally walks with her hands clasped behind her back like a little old Asian man. Also enjoys wearing hats.

Had her first Mommy haircut not too long ago. Got bangs and now looks super Asian.

Finally allows ponytails to remain in her hair… which is still chocolate brown and still stick straight.

Currently a TERRIBLE sleeper. Not quite sure what happened there. But at some point she falls asleep on Craig or I… and often both, multiple times a night. It is wildly inconvenient, but we are trying to soak it in… for now.

Still livin that soother life.

Is thoroughly enjoying ALL of the holidays this year: decorating a spooky house and going trick or treating at Halloween. Eating all of the delicious food at Thanksgiving. Since putting up the Christmas lights, has put her clammy little hand in someone’s to ‘see yights’ multiple times an evening.

Loves ‘Santan’ from afar (sounds more like sun tan)

Being the 2nd born, religiously picks things up and deems them as ‘Jessie’s’

That being said, she is totally enthralled with her big sis and wants to do whatever Brynlee’s doing.

Loves to clean and hates having dirty hands. Will pick up the tiniest crumb, place it in your hand and say ‘garbage’

Favourite books: Toot, Goodnight Moon, Where’s Baby, and anything with bunnies

Enjoys giving her pup treats… but sometimes tries to eat them herself.

Glow Edmonton

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We took the girls to Christmas Glow, an indoor lights festival last Friday and they had an absolute blast! Brynlee was thrilled to be able to run around as she pleased and Jess just kept exclaiming ‘yights!’ everywhere we went.

From the magical LED swings to the beautiful hanging lights, the hopscotch pad was definitely the girls’ favourite. We will likely visit again since it is a fantastic indoor activity and open until January 19th!

Glow

A Gift: Zaremba

Zaremba

Last winter I was incredibly honoured when the PICU social committee reached out to see if I would donate a session for their Christmas Party. Of course I said yes! And the beautiful and insanely compassionate nurse, Katelyn was the one to receive it. Her and her boyfriend met me out at my parents’ place one beautiful fall evening and brought along with them their gorgeous pup Abby. I had such a blast photographing their connection and love for one another. It was a great opportunity to see my two worlds collide!

Here is a glimpse of their gorgeous session,

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Brynlee Goes to Preschool

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Brynlee started preschool this September and she couldn’t have been more excited. As a natural people person she was enthralled at the idea of playing with other kiddos and making new friends. It has been a wild ride watching her learn and grow these past three years but damn am I ever proud. She is vibrant, thoughtful, determined and always full of energy. She has taught me the power of unconditional love, patience and to see the fun in the world around us.

PS- only 32 days until she gets to be the special helper!

Height: 40.5 in          Weight: 37.5 lbs          Shoe size: 8          Clothing size: 5


Favourites as per Sept. 23, 2018

Book: Where’s Waldo

Song: Happy Birthday

Food: pizza

Treat: chocolate

Thing to do: play with Daddy in the basement

Animal: elephants and horses

Place to go: the zoo to see Lucy

Thing to wear: dresses

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The Extended Monk Family

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Last fall I asked Kylie if her mom would sew our family a quilt. The idea was that each year we would have our family photos taken with it. Then when our kiddos were all grown and having families of their own, we would still have this precious quilt to remind us of all of the beautiful memories.

Instead of paying Sharon for her amazing work and attention to detail, Kylie suggested we ‘trade labor’. Therefore, this summer I took some photos of their beautiful family.

I think we each got a hell of a deal… if you’d like to see the gorgeous quilt Sharon made, check out this post.

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The Littles & I

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Back in May my littles & I spent the afternoon with a beauty of a human and super talented photographer Tracey Jazmin. She was mentoring another photographer and needed a family to capture during the session. Craig was working and wasn’t able to make it but Tracey was so kind, helpful and amazing with my girls that it was just so easy.

After the shoot Tracey very graciously sent over some photos that I will cherish forever. It reminded me of how important it is to get in front of the camera every now and again. Plus to think that she captured these amazing moments while teaching another photographer and helping me wrangle two small children…

So if you’re looking for a mega talented photographer or mentor, she is definitely your girl!

Check out her website HERE

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All photos courtesy of TRACEY JAZMIN