At the driving range with dad


" one ever acquires all the muscular powers of which they are capable. Man is like a person born to enormous wealth, so rich that he can only use a part of his inheritance, but he can choose which part he will use at his pleasure. A man may become a gymnast by profession, but it does not follow that he was born with muscles of any special kind. Neither is the professional dancer endowed with muscles suited specially for dancing. The gymnast and the ballerina develop themselves by force of will. Everyone, whatever he may want to do, has such a wide range of muscular powers that he can choose and set himself a course. His mind can propose and direct his development. Nothing is preordained and everything is possible.
It is only necessary for his will to collaborate." -- Maria Montessori


First time at the driving range with dad! You were so excited!
Not to mention the hospitality from the owner -- thank you Jim's Driving Range!

Changing Seasons, time and letting go...

I've been having a hard time with...well...time.
And like the seasons that come and go, my little guy's 'seasons' seem to cycling far more quickly than I'm comfortable with. He seems so much older these days and as I watched him getting a book the other night, I noticed where the top of his head came up to the dresser.
Did I shrink all of these clothes that I've washed and dried a hundred times or could it be that he just grew half an inch over night?

And a week ago grandmother passed away.
I knew this was coming and still wasn't prepared for...letting go.
A deep sense of relief for her peace mixed with an urgency to sift through the memory bank of my mind. Her face, the way she talked and laughed. I clearly remembered her kitchen -- that was everything Nan, and the way she loved with her hands.
Meat pies, partridge berry jam, bread, buns and muffins. Oh and don't forget Nan's pickles.
The smells, the tastes, the coming together at Christmas with family or summer vacation...all now just memories.

I have a hard time with letting go...of these moments that my heart is so immersed in.
Minutes turn into days, turn into months, turning into years. Where honestly is the time going?

And it's never the obvious big moments.
It's the small and subtle, day to day, not so obvious, sometimes mundane, that slowly begin to weave the most beautiful tapestry you've ever laid eyes on. Your life....and theirs.

I can't help and think that a year from now, we'll be in this exact same season again, and you my little boy, will be so different.

I grieved looking through these photos when I realized that there will come a day when you no longer fit in the sled, dad no longer pulling you...that you're already so heavy for me to carry, and everything is changing so quickly before my eyes.

So pay attention.
Linger and love every minute of all the seasons.

What could be more important than giving this moment all of your attention?
It's all we have.
And all we'll have left to remember...

...Rest in peace Nan. Thanks for all the wonderful memories. You are forever in my heart.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries

We're heading to the 3 year mark with NO sugar for this little guy.
That's not to say he doesn't eat sugar, however it comes in natural sources...honey, maple syrup, and the obvious real fruits, when he has juice it's fresh made NOT in a box, and of course that pretty much rules out almost every kids convenient 'snacking' food.

We didn't plan on this, it just sorta fell into place and the question I get asked most often is: Isn't that hard?

Not for me.
A little history is that I've had a relationship with food my whole life. A good one, a terrible one, an addictive one, to the great one that I have at this moment, pretty much owing this all to my son. We've both seen first hand what food stress/struggle can look like and that's different for everyone (you just have to pay really close attention!)

Obviously anything in excess isn't good, and yet sugar's been linked to the likes of cocaine -- even worse is it's effect on the mind in terms of addiction, neurological, behavioral etc. I find it interesting that I talk to moms who collectively share the same idea about 'kids these days' ...especially kids in school and how behavioral issues are off the chart.

I believe that most of these issues are diet related, and then most of the diets are in excess of sugar. READ THE LABELS OF YOUR KIDS SNACKS. Fructose, sucrose, sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup....the list goes on and on.

Food addiction is a biological fact. Your brain lights up when you consume cocaine, heroine or sugar. In fact, sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine. If you start your baby/kids early on sugary foods they’ll become addicted. Sugar is poison.
— Fed Up Movie

Colin doesn't need it. He's too young and yes, I have moments when cupcakes are being given out and everyone's sharing the same look "aww your son can't eat this...?"
And then I remember all the other shit that's probably in the cupcake and what he endures when he eats the stuff that I know isn't good for HIM. So worth it for me, his immune system, his body, his mind. Less is best when it comes to food and always choosing as naturally as possible with REAL food.

I am his biggest warrior for health until he has the educated information and is old enough to choose for himself. So I'm not naive in my thinking that he'll never have sugar. And while he's still undergoing so much essential development I will make this chose because it's easy for me.

Questions or comments? Do you have a specific struggle with sugar or healthy eating for your kids? I'd love to hear from you, so share in the comments below.

I'm also posting our pumpkin bread recipe that we honestly make weekly because we love it! It's dairy-free, refined sugar free, soy-free, and egg-free...NOT gluten free.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flax meal with 3 tbsp's of water is equivalent to one egg)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 3/4 cups of flour (so I do 1 cup of spelt flour and 3/4 cups of either white or whole wheat)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup hot water

- Preheat over to 325 degrees and grease a 9x5 loaf pan
- In a big bowl add your flour, salt, and spices -- not your baking soda!
- Set the baking soda in a small bowl and put aside
- Melt your coconut oil, then add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla and flax/egg mixture
- Add warm water to baking soda, and as you mix wet ingredients to dry ingredients be sure to evenly distribute this through the batter
- Add 1/2 cup fresh cranberries **optional
- Bake for 50 minutes and be sure to check that bread is done with a toothpick.
- Cool on wire rack
- Enjoy!

Please note that the bread in these photos is a little thinner as this is from half of the recipe. Usually one large can of pumpkin puree can make 2.5 loaves of bread so the 3rd loaf we make is this recipe in half. HOWEVER it is a denser bread because of the healthy ingredients, and it's moist and VERY good if you add cranberries -- which I love. Colin is on the fence over the sourness however they're growing on him. Use fresh cranberries please.

Also remember there's no preservatives in this bread so it can last about 2 days stored on counter before you must put this in the fridge where it'll get a bit harder, then you can just warm it up. Usually we can eat this all before it makes it to the fridge!

Let me know how this works for you! xo

An inconceivable journey...

I met Amira years ago at a wedding I was photographing in Toronto.
She was a bridesmaid, we hit it off...becoming the best of penpals since she lived in New Zealand.

I knew of her struggles with endometriosis however we'd lost touch for awhile and I wasn't aware of her efforts to have a baby. How surprised was I, while pregnant myself, hearing from an old friend that she would be in Canada August of pick up her baby!
Would I be around to take photos? Amazing, and yes!

This is a story about hope. As the years went on with my battle to become a mother, my friends and family supported and championed me. The more I talked about what I was going through – the fibroids, the medical misadventures, the endometriosis, the miscarriage and the surrogacies – the more women came out of the woodwork with their own stories. They were enduring their own infertility battles and they wanted to talk to someone who had been there and had come out on the other side - happy, pain-free, a mother.

My name is Amira and I, like many of you, battle with infertility. For many years I wondered if I’d ever be lucky enough to hold my own baby. After nearly 2 decades of perseverance, I finally heard those little cries as our son was passed from another woman’s body into my waiting arms...

I have written a book about my journey and I need your help to get it published.
— Amira Mikhail

To read more about Amira's story and support her in bringing this book to life, please visit and donate HERE.

And the beautiful ending to this story? Have a look through the photos below :)

Our First Family Vacation | Riviera Maya Mexico


I was exhausted, ready and anxious.
Our first flight with babe to an All Inclusive in Mexico.
I was worried about the flight, so much sun, the food?
And I laugh now when I think of all the people who told me just to go away and 'relax'.
What is that with a 1.5 year old at the beach? Definitely a different kind of vacation than I'm used too, and it was still amazing to have the sun and water at our disposal. I think the best part was seeing bub's face light up when we mentioned the beach or the pool.
He absolutely loved the water!

I know their needs change as they get older and I thought I'd share what worked at this stage for us and definitely became necessities for this trip.

5 Beach Vacay Baby Necessities:

  • Gap has a baby/toddler rash guard with long sleeves and a hood. Bought two for a good price and loved them.
  • Babybanz UV sun hat and glasses with 100% UV protection. They are annoying until they realize the harsh sun is the alternative then keeping these on isn't a problem.
  • Crocs! easy on and off for the beach, withstanding the elements of water and sand.
  • Sunscreen was the biggie for me and I have two personal fav's for baby, and myself as I actually used the Matter sun creme on my own face: Badger Baby Sunscreen Creme, and Matter, Mom and Baby, Baby Sun Care Creme.

Oh! there is one item I forgot to add.
We borrowed an ipad from a friend and to say it was a lifesaver is an understatement. I'm not an advocate for kids, especially babies being introduced to these things so early however it provided a good distraction on the plane at times, and we had no idea how handy it would be while at the resort. There is so much noise that's out of your control with the other suites, maintenance doing renovations, the lawn mower going off, dinner carts coming with room service...weird, random noises through the night...anyways, Thank God for YouTube and 4 hour loops of white noise sounds. Ironically we used the crashing wave sounds, I believe it was this one.

A little on the fence about an All Inclusive with an 18 month old. I think if the babes were smaller it might be easier, and our little guy has an early bedtime.
Unless you have a suite with two rooms vs. the one room or maybe if you can bring a Nana along, it gets tough to do anything other than room service for dinner. The long days full of fresh air made bed time even more critical and even if we hit up the buffet, I found it rushed and pushing it for the little guy.

Also the noise is out of your control. Funny enough, EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I went to put Colin down for his nap, the renovation orchestra would start up it's symphony right behind the headboard, I mean I was waiting for a Mexican to come crashing through the wall at times. So like any frustrated and wanting your baby to sleep effortlessly without the sounds of wall demolition, I called the front desk, and nicely asked for a cease fire. I swear I was nice, and remember I was a frustrated mom -- so that should tell you how nice I was.

I think there are resorts that cater more to families.
Or renting a condo/house somewhere and forgetting the All Inclusive is usually a great idea when our dollar isn't bombing.
Where are you favourite places to travel with the family?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

jodi renée