To my son Kian, you are a strong, brilliant warrior. I love your sense for doing what is right, your passion for knowledge, your rough and tumble physicality, and your love of life, light (and Minecraft!). And, above all else, I simply love you.
You have held my heart in your hand everyday since you were born eight years ago. There is no place I would rather it be.
Kian just after his 1st birthday. And below, from last fall flushed after a long play in the leaves.
We are enjoying some family time at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia. The trail down to the water is through the Nk’Mip Winery and their vineyards. When we went down last night for a swim in the lake, it was great to watch the kids running down the pathway.
(as always, please click on any image to open a webpage with a higher resolution version)
The party for my son’s sixth birthday was scheduled for last Sunday but a heavy blizzard blew in the night before and travel on the roads was treacherous. We postponed the party to save family from driving in the storm which left Kian quite sad for a little bit. Fortunately his friends who live nearby bundled up, came over and we all headed outside for some tobogganing on the little hill behind our house. Not much sledding happened as the gang decided a snowball fight was a better use of their energy and time.
With smile restored and spirits high, Kian had a great time playing and the rest of us followed his lead. Kezia helped me to return fire after the attack above but then turned her sights my way a few minutes later.
Her brother liked Kezia’s idea and joined in the attack too – Traitors! I was worried about a full mutiny but their attentions soon turned to other targets.
With a small crisis (though rather big to a young boy) averted, we ended up having a great day and Bobbi even arranged to have some cupcakes to finish off the birthday celebrations. Which Kian enjoyed blowing out a solitary candle on (three times as I had a couple of different images that I wanted to make in mind).
It was my sweet little girl’s birthday last weekend. Kezia had the whole day devoted to the celebrations. She started running and kept going through the whole day. The princess party started the festivities where we hosted four princesses, and one alternately enthusiastic and reluctant prince.
In the afternoon, the family arrived and Kezia was happy to carry on well past her normal bed time.
Happy birthday Kezia – we love you and the light you create everyday.
Well, not mean at all in actual fact. My children (the teenage mutant ninja turtle and the ladybug) joined up with two of their best friends (the rooster and the monster) and it was quick work to capture a photograph of the four of them before they headed out on the streets.
Great fun for the four parents to watch these characters having so much fun. Our little group scoured the neighbourhood for other costumed mischiefs, joining into loose packs and descending on homes in search of loot. As a community, Redwood Meadows really gets into this event. There were spectacular haunted homes with graveyards, animated ghouls, roaring voices, fires and event a 12 foot high pumpkin cactus inflatable that was lit up. Crazy stuff.
There was even one home that scared my son, who playing a teenage mutant ninja turtle, wasn’t afraid of much and usually attacked anything that inspired a bit of fear (to our mayor, John, and his wife Shana I say very well done – I was scared too!) Here was one of the denizens in the yard of the house who stayed in character the whole night and I was only sure it was a real person when I looked at the images closely afterwards.
Once the scare was out of his system, Kian (aka the ninja turtle) returned to burning fuel in top gear – running, diving to the ground, shortcuts through the trees between houses. Standard procedure for a little boy and a lot of fun to watch. Kezia was cold so she pulled mommy back to our friend’s house nearby. The monster and the chicken were having a great time so, along with the turtle, the three of them kept rolling for another hour. Impressive given it was close to freezing and we covered a lot of ground. Stamina, camaraderie and the lure of candy – a powerful mix.
The Redwood Fire Department is very involved in our community and they had vehicles parked in different parts of the community and the firefighters were out giving candy. They are a great group of men and women and we are lucky to have them. The kids, maybe not evident in this picture, were completely thrilled to talk with a couple of the firefighters AND get candy from them.
We returned home well after bedtime and after one treat each (daddy included), we all fell asleep quickly. Wrapping up a wonderful evening in our little town.
Friday was Kian’s 4th birthday and it kicked off a birthday weekend that was a whirlwind of fun.
Our local fire station, the Redwood Meadows Fire Department, allowed us to throw Kian’s birthday party at the Fire Hall in the garage right beside the fire engines and emergency response vehicles!
The kids, and most of us adults, had a great time. The fire fighters on duty were incredible – allowing the kids to tour through all of the vehicles, explaining gear, reinforcing fire safety in a fun way and really having fun with the children.
An incredible group of men and women. Their work in the community is amazing and it was fun to have a chance to talk with them and see their interest in teaching and playing with the children.
A huge thank you to my wife, Bobbi, for putting this event on; the fire department for everything they did that made the party incredible, Trisha for her amazing desserts, my parents for helping pull it all together and all of the families who came out – I hope everyone had a great day – we did.
Happy birthday Kian – with all of my love to my big boy. I love being your daddy and helping you as you blaze your trail. You amaze me every day.
When my son is sleeping, I have made a few photographs of the view out the window as well as the scene inside. Most images here were made using the Lensbaby Muse lens at F/2.8. I’m not feeling super inspired in the last few days but it is fun to work with the depth of field focus effects you can create using any of the Lensbaby optics.
Kian loves this wheelchair but I framed it in a somber mood here.
With Kian in the hospital for a few days, we have had time to just hang out, which has been great. Not good circumstances but a definite silver lining.
Along with us is the camera and as we’ve toured the hospital I’ve taken photographs of my little boy, here are a few.
Bobbi and I had an amazing weekend on a retreat at a riverside paradise near Golden in British Columbia. Quantum Leaps is run by Annette Boelman and Brian Olynek and is a retreat centre in the Blaeberry Valley. Annette and Brian have created a haven for inner and outer reflection and discovery. They are generous, caring people and it was very special to share time with them. Our small group came together guided by Amarin on a series of explorations. On Saturday night, we built a huge fire collectively and then we walked on the coals in a Fire Walking Ceremony. It was one of those experiences that I am still thinking about a couple of days later and feels like a profound step towards a great part of the journey.
Note: Please click any image to open much larger on its own page.
Here our group is preparing for the fire walk as the fire burns down. I am so happy to have shared this experience with my Bobbi, looking over her shoulder in the photograph above.
Annette begins raking the fire
Sparks stream upwards while the flames profile Brian.
Boards we wrote on ignite over the embers
The fire, the tipi and a man
These are the coals we walked over!
Bobbi walking over the coals and then enjoying the feeling afterwards
That’s me staying focused…
… And then playing in the moment
The night sky beyond the fire
If you make the opportunity to walk on fire, you may find it very worthwhile. For the record, none of us had any burns and all enjoyed the night and the sharing. As far as the retreat, if you want to find time for yourself and those you want around you, Quantum Leaps is very highly recommended. When we left, the Kokanee salmon were just starting to run and will be driving upriver for the next month. Bald eagles were beginning to arrive, I saw a different one each morning perched in trees along the banks. A black bear didn’t find me but was out by one of the cabins and has been a regular visitor over the past few days joining deer and the occasional elk which also enjoy the grounds.
” Picture The Cure” is a not-for-profit community based organization whose mission is to raise the awareness, bring dedicated people together and honour cancer survivors and victims.
In Calgary, in association with The Camera Store, they held an auction at the end of June which included over 40 pieces of artwork. I contributed a framed 20×30 print of the Nuns at Prayer in Myanmar. Angelo Avlonitis, the owner of Art Country Canada in Bragg Creek, donated the glass and frame.
I am very happy to have been able to contribute to this very worthwhile project.
Evelyn Drake, the organizer who I worked with leading up to the event, is walking 60 km in The Calgary Weekend to End Women’s Cancer – I hope you have a great experience!