8 years ago

Today is Thursday. A workday. A weekday. Another regular day. I woke up with my 3 year old rolling over my head asking for toast. To the smell of breakfast and coffee floating from the kitchen as my husband gets ready for work. I roll out of bed, give morning kisses to my family on my way to fill my coffee cup. And we sit, as we do every morning, around the table and wake up together.

It’s not always full of words. Sometimes we just sit and sip. Sometimes we listen to the radio news. Sometimes we glance through the newspaper or house listings. But whether we are laughing at Ari’s morning dance routine, chatting about the upcoming day, or whatever it is that morning brings. We always do it together.

As it happens today is also our anniversary. 8 years ago, I woke up and said ‘yes’. And since then, we have been cultivating our life. Together.

At this stage in life, we have a beautiful 3 year old daughter. We live in a beautiful town, where summers are filled with beach afternoons and family time. We sit in our beautiful light-filled home. We are chasing our goals and dreams when it comes to work and life.

And even though our life can be crazy and there are days that are total fails, this life is something that I hold dear to my heart. Something that I feel so unbelievably lucky to have, and something that I cherish with every fibre of my body.

My husband is my rock. The person who I can be most vulnerable with, and most strong. Happy 8th (and 13th) anniversary to the love of my life.

Then…

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Photo Credit: Stobbe Photography

 

And now…

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Photo Credit – Olga Litmanova

 

Here’s to many more adventures to come. xoxo

Our own Paris session

It’s been 6 weeks since we arrived back home after our trip to Europe. I figure it’s probably time to share a few of the amazing things we experienced during our 2 weeks away from home.

This was Ari’s first major trip. First plane ride, needless to say I was a little anxious about how it was going to go. There is only so much one can pre-plan and prepare, but I tried my best to get as much organized before we left as possible.

As it turns out, Ari is an amazing little traveller. She rocked that plane like nobody’s business. We brought a few key items to get us through…namely tasty snacks, enough fluids, and a few entertaining bits and bobs (skinny, easy to pack books, a fun kids movie, and a few fun stickers and pens).

Our first location was… ahhhh, Paris. I had been here once before in my early twenties. And I had been dying to get back since the moment I left. Paris is definitely one of my favourite cities I’ve visited so far in my lifetime. And this time round did not disappoint.

We got an amazing Airbnb place close to Luxembourg Park, and the weather was fabulous. We must have walked that park every day, pushing the stroller and soaking in something new and beautiful each time we walked through the pathways.

Our first day in Paris, we had to make our way to the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t officially in the plans for the day, but our ‘walk around the neighbourhood’ turned into a curious wander in the direction of the tower. And eventually we just couldn’t help ourselves but to see if we could get there! And we did. It was so exciting to see the tip of the Eiffel Tower peeking through the buildings, and finally having it come fully into view. We made our way to it, and had a little lay-down underneath as we just took in the upwards view.

Even though these photos weren’t taken till a few days later, these are such special memories of the Tower. One of my ‘preparations’ for Paris, was to book a family photo session while we were there. And it just had to include the Eiffel Tower. So, we met up with a wonderful local photographer, Olga Litmanova, at sunrise. If you can make it happen, it is a special way to experience the view, as it is such a quiet, peaceful time of day in a place that is normally full of tourists.

And since we are usually up with Arianna at 6AM on any given day, a 7AM photo session didn’t seem too impossible to make happen! It was worth it, as these photos are going to be mine to cherish forever… and that is exactly what I plan to do.

Thank you Olga for these precious memories…  you can check out Olga’s website HERE

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mothers day

It is so difficult to know how to put my thoughts about motherhood into words. Becoming a mother has changed how I view absolutely everything in life. If I can be real for a quick minute;

I have never loved someone this way. I have never felt this type of love/responsibility for someone. What happens to her, is because of me (and her dad too, of course). That is pretty intense. To be THAT responsible for something. I have never experienced anything remotely close to that before, and even though it’s crazy-stupid-scary if you really think about it, but it’s also just what it is to be a mom. So somehow it’s ok. I can somehow handle it. And truly,  I feel like this is the only thing I can imagine doing with my life right now. She is my world, and will be the best part of it from now till forever.

And then it just always makes me think of my own mom. And what she has done for me and my three siblings. It is humbling to think of what she has had to do for us, and what she continues to do for us. She is always there for me. Always. I think she can almost read my mind sometimes.

She just knows when to show up. When to hug. When to laugh. When to cry. And also when to be my strength and not cry. Be my rock. She blows me away with her un-ending love for her children, and all I can do is to try to be that for Ari as she goes through her life.

So, here’s to my mom who is halfway across the world right now backpacking Europe with my dad. I love you. I appreciate you. Forever.

And to my own little bug… words can’t describe how important and valuable you are to me and your dad. We will do all we can to protect you, but also show you all this world has to offer, because I know you will have so many amazing things to offer back.

xo

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photo cred: Olga Litmanova

main man

It is never more present in my mind as to how lucky I am to have this man, as when we get home from a trip/weekend/group event/datenight and we have to go back to ‘work’. Every single time it solidifies how much I love being around him. How much comfort I feel with him near. How he is the person that I feel most connected to and most honestly, truly ‘me’. When I am without, I can’t help but await for the next time I am with.

Happiest of birthdays to my husband. You are the absolute love of my life, and the most incredible dad to our little babe. She adores you more than you know. I adore you more than I can ever say.

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Loving on each other

Valentines was just two days ago, and I can easily say that it is a favorite of mine. Admittedly, it can be a bit cliche maybe, and retail companies exploit it to the nines. BUT, at its root, is just trying celebrate ‘love’. And I love love. Love it. It’s my thing. So, how can I not be excited about a day dedicated to love!

I absolutely think that the energy we put into expressing our love on February 14th needs to carry through to every other day of the year, but why not have a day that’s kinda like ‘love on steroids’.

Ari and I spent the morning decorating cookies and putting the finishing touches on our v-day cards. Then we got dressed in our pinks, and we headed out on our cupid-adventure! We hand delivered a few special Valentines, and had just the best day doing it. Grandma’s and grandpa’s, daddy-at-work, cousins and little friends…

Since becoming a momma, the day has changed just a wee bit. Once upon a time, Ryan and I just swooned over each other and reminisced about ‘us’. The duo.

Now, it’s about our family. About our little one and the love we all have for each other. Three hearts.

Here’s to many more days of just loving on each other and sinking deeper into the wonderfulness that is 3.

Here’s a little throwback to some photos that I’ve been crushing on lately… that fleeting time where were were still two and already three at the same moment. Forever thankful to Jessica Balfour for creating these irreplaceable photographs. xo

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Make-up by the amazing Jenny McKinney

It’s about time!

Paris anyone?

It’s been awhile since I’ve dreamt of Paris. Actually, that isn’t true. I am always dreaming of Paris, but it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about it in any possible, tangible way.

What feels like forever ago, I took 3 days and soaked in as much of that city as possible. I was in awe. In love. Infatuated with ‘Paris’.

The 3 days ended, and I moved on. But ever since that first date with Paris, I have been yearning to go back, but the next time hand in hand with the love of my life.

The time has finally come to go back, and wouldn’t you know it, but I get to take the TWO loves of my life with me.

I know, I know. It’s just a city. I am a firm believer that the most valuable and loved parts of my life are the people who surround me, so why get all wrapped up in the idea of streets and buildings? Well, all I can say to that is… that’s why I’m taking them with me! Rain or shine, we are going to spend a week together eating crepes and tiny desserts, drinking good coffee and even better wine.

And then I get to kick off my wedding season with a countryside wedding between the rolling hills of England. Ummm, yes, that’s right. My lovely cousin and his beautiful fiance and getting hitched and I get to capture the memories for them (here the link to their Canadian engagement session!)! I could not be more humbled and excited for this wedding. And I’ve wrangled the amazing Amy Faith, who is an incredible photographer located in England to help me out, so that I can also relax with my family and enjoy the celebration as well!

And then we get to come back home to summer in the Okanagan. I’ve got a lineup of amazing weddings that I can’t wait to be a part of. I’ve got time set aside for making my own memories with my little family. And most importantly, I am going to do my best to be ever-present in each moment, whether that be ‘work’ or ‘life’.

My goal this year is to be more streamlined. More organized. More effective. Which will hopefully allow me to truly enjoy every minute I get to focus on my work, and then fully enjoy every second I have with my family. I want to work effectively, play a lot and get the perfect amount of beauty sleep (ya right). Everyone has to dream, right?!

Here’s to another trip around the sun!

Below is my sort of my ‘signature’ Paris photo that always brings me right back to standing on the corner in Montmarte…

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Resolution? Goal? Life-change?

It seems to be the end of the year, and thanks to Facebook, I got a little reminder that I haven’t posted on my business page in quite some time…

That little reminder encouraged me to check it out. First, I checked what my last post on facebook was. October 27th. Which also coincides with my last blog post. Oi.

2 full months.

This sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole. Next I checked how many posts I did in the full year. Can’t be that bad.

13.

Uhhhmmm, pardon?

Why don’t we dig a little deeper.

2015 – 33

2014 – 32

2013 – 75

Oh boy.

First let me preface this by saying that admittedly I am sad that I have obviously let go of my writing, which is something that I have loved to do since forever. As a young girl, I always had a journal hidden under my bed. I wrote all through highschool, all though college, all through my travels, and even though I sort of slipped and lost my journal writing at that point in my life, I started a blog!

And then something kinda life-changing happened early 2014. The best kind of life-change there is. I became a momma-bear. Even though I am sad to see how much I have lost my consistency in my writing, I have a pretty dang good (and super cute) excuse!

But as with every New Year, I love to take time to think of what sort of things I hope to work on with the coming year. And I think this needs to be one of them! Writing has been a part of me as long as I can remember. It’s how I organize my thoughts. Deepen my thoughts. Work through the tough ones, and also, it acts as a memory bank so I never forget the good!

I have no idea if people out there like to read my words or not. But I have come to a point in my life that I don’t really mind either way. Writing is something that makes me feel more whole. And in a world that is so huge, if there is anyone out there who can connect with my words/stories/struggles/wins, then I feel that helps to make our world a little less ‘big’. Connecting us together. Building community.

I’m going to put it out there that my writing-goal for this next year is going to hit 36 blog posts, which is just 3 a month. I can do it, and I’m excited to do it. And maybe somebody will read them, and maybe not. Either way, I’ll be happy to be back at getting my stories and thoughts back onto the page – er – keyboard. hehe.

And just so you understand the reason WHY I’ve swayed from my writing, here are a few of the out-takes of Ari’s Christmas photos I tried to do this year. Yes, she is in a variety of outfits and locations because this took me THREE TRIES. First time was my fault. Second time was her fault, and third time I brought my ever-faithful assistant (aka – her dad, my hubby, the best assistant ever) and we nailed it.

Here’s to 2017 and all it will bring!

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And this was the winner photo! Light of my life. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! xoari-2016blog-final-9

17 months

It is surreal how quickly my little beauty is growing up. A year ago, she was still just this tiny little babe on the floor of our home, rolling around, goo-gooing at me. Now, she is this fierce, beautiful, full-of-life little girl. We used to pop her in the stroller and walk the streets of our neighbourhood with her babbling away. Now, we chase behind her, teaching her about bugs, sticks, rocks… she especially loves rocks. And I mean chasing! She is getting so fast and so independent, it excites and frightens me all at the same time.

This summer has been such an amazing year. Through my work, I have been able to continue my passion for photography and love. And through my family, I’ve begun to teach AND learn all about the world  with this little girl. My little love.

Here’s to what has been an incredible 17 months, and here’s to the next forever. Can’t wait!

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35 years young

Happy Birthday to the love of my life.

Now, I have to admit, this year has been a crazy one, and this week is no different, so maybe today’s celebrations won’t be as extravagant as most other years, but know that midst our craziness, I am more in love with you than ever.

I thought this photo was fitting… just laying in bed, still clothed from the day, totally bagged, totally tired,  and totally happy just being together.

xo

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baby girl is 1

Is it possible that my baby girl is one? It feels completely impossible, and yet, I have all these photos on my camera from her first birthday party. Apparently, it happened.

Is this what I should expect from the next forever? Minutes flying by at lightening speed. Her little personality growing and changing by the minute. Her beautiful face becoming more and more expressive, silly and smiley?

There is much about life that goes by quicker than I’d like. But this is by far the most. I want her to stay the tiny bean that first arrived for forever. But then I adore the times right now where she is exploring the world and becoming her own little person. She is my inspiration to be stronger, to be smarter, to be healthier, to be more effective in all I do.

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Of course we had to try a ‘cake smash’. Since she hasn’t eaten much for any processed sugar yet, I thought I’d try to make her a ‘healthier’ banana cake. Well, as everyone that was present can attest, it turned out to be a bit of a bowling ball. She smacked it, she hit it, she poked it, and eventually, she threw it over the side to its death. And there was hardly a dent in it. She did manage to get a few bites of the icing at least!

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To my baby girl, happy first birthday. I will love you forever. xo