Monday, October 31, 2011


Phew, made it through the craziest two weeks work wise:) I still have a bunch of sessions to work on but at least I'm back to the two sessions/week now. Be sure to check out GC Photography this week as there will be a lot of new sessions posted! We had a busy weekend. We ran the photo area of the Fall Carnival at our church again.
Grandma and Grandpa came to take the kids around to all the games so that Gary and I could do the photo station. The boys had so much fun as usual.
We already had a bunch of pumpkins (given to us) but we always go to the pumpkin patch to let them pick out one too. So, Saturday morning we went and Kai picked the biggest one he could find while Koen picked the smallest one:) We have two kids that are VERY excited about trick or treating today. I'll have to show you a picture of my Mario and Pumpkin tomorrow. Oh, and the Mario Pumpkin that Gary carved for Kai.
And, my pumpkin, the 10 week belly (before dinner!). When I woke up this morning, I had been laying on my back and my uterus was so cramped up (it likes it when I lay on my side). It was continuously painful for about 30 minutes. Any kind of cramping gets me a little nervous but I think it's just all stretching out and all that jazz. I am feeling really good. Not as tired anymore and only sick in the last hour before bed or so. And fortunately/unfortunately I am not interested in eating chocolate at all. This will be helpful with all that junk in our house over the next few weeks.

Oh, I was sad that I had to pack up all my jeans because I could no longer do them up but then I realized I could just wear them with long shirts and the button and zipper undone. Perfect. We'll see how long that lasts! The jeans above are my favourite and I got them 65% off:)

Next week Tuesday is a big day for me. In the morning, I have a midwife appointment and hopefully get to hear the heartbeat. In the afternoon, I go to Chilliwack to the TMJ clinic to hopefully hear what we can do about my jaw! Eating anything that requires more than three chews is difficult and painful.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and a safe evening:)
Love, Louise

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thank You

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I appreciate your support, excitement and prayers. I spent some time yesterday looking at photos of when Koen was born and it got me a whole lot more excited about the next super chubby baby I am currently growing:) I'm not so excited about this part....
(38.5 weeks pregnant with Koen, the day before my scheduled C-section).
but I am so excited about this part. Holding my newest love, and,
seeing Koen hold HIS little brother/sister. Koen is very excited to be a big brother and says it often. I think he thinks it means he will then be big, and then, he will be allowed on the top bunk. Yes, the boys have been sharing bunk beds for the past month or so! Very exciting and they are doing so well with it.

I won't be talking about babies for every single post now but I do want to say that I totally think we are having another boy and I would be very happy to add another to the mix:) However, I would be shocked and so excited to have a girl. I think I just love the cute girly outfits and seriously, I can do some great braiding (I had 4 little sisters to practice on). Don't want to put that skill to waste! But, most importantly, I really, really, really, want that adult mother daughter relationship.

In other news, our good friends, Jen and Andrey are visiting from the Philippines with their daughter Ella!! We were so, so, so excited to meet her in person. We spent two great days together with the group of us having a mini nerdfest (missing a couple of families) and it was a lot of fun. The kids had so much fun all together and we, the adults, enjoyed some great conversation and wonderful food. Good times.
These are definitely the busiest two weeks photography wise and I'm trying to work so hard in the day because I get so tired at night. I'm currently doing about 4X the amount of sessions that I would normally do plus volunteer photography stuff on top of it. Yikes! Busy, busy. But it's a good thing...I know November-February will be a lot slower and that will be when Gary is busy with basketball and I can spend more time doing fun things with the kiddos.

Finally, I had Kai's parent teacher conferences yesterday and it went really well. Kai is doing well and loving school. She had a lot of great things to say about him which is always nice to hear as a parent:) I've noticed that he is starting to read a whole lot better which is pretty fun. He can read a sentence like `The dog and the cat went for a run.'. You know, where there are no silly rules, just letters sounding like they should:) The teacher pointed out that he was good with patterns and I know he does love his math book.

There are a couple of interesting things that she mentioned which is a bit of my personality showing through so probably something to think about and work on. He always wants to be first. I know this is normal but he really, really turns everything into a competition. I'm a bit competitive but have definitely toned it down and we are working on the importance of teamwork:) Secondly, he doesn't want to hold his pencil properly. He just wants to grasp it in his fist. He is still able to write like that but I wouldn't mind if he tried a bit harder. He has a hard time doing things if he isn't good at them. Like me, I never played volleyball again after grade 9. However, I know with skating and swimming it was a similar situation so we took a break and then he was ready a few months later. Maybe it's an oldest child kind of thing. So ya, nothing concerning, but you can see how your own personality really comes out in your kids.

I love my Kai Bear and enjoy hanging out with him.
I love Koen even though he is in this ridiculous stage of yelling questions at me all the time. `MOMMY, I'M TRYING TO TELL YOU SUMFING! MOMMY! '. Seriously, cell phones while driving are supposed to be distracting? Try Koen in your backseat.

Okay, this is long enough. Back to work:)

Have a wonderful week!
Love, Louise

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Exciting Announcement

Okay, you ready for this?! Not sure I am:)

We are pregnant again. It's still early (9 weeks) but I'm showing just like last time with Koen. So, there is the good news! We are due May 28th which is our 7 year anniversary.

Can I tell you all the different feelings I'm having?

1. When we found out we were pregnant, it made me mourn the loss of the child before. It made me sad that I was only 10% as happy as I was when we found out we were pregnant in July. Why? I think I was nervous to celebrate because I didn't want to lose another one.

2. I knew we were pregnant at just 3 weeks. I had pregnancy symptoms immediately and took 4 tests in that third week until I finally got the positive sign at 3 weeks and 5 days:) Yes, I'm impatient like that.

3. I am excited to go on this pregnancy journey with 3 of my 4 sisters. This will definitely not happen again for us (our last biological child) and they make me feel like a grandma. I feel like I haven't been pregnant in 10 years although it has only been more like 3:)
{Taken over thanksgiving}
4. I'm a bit sad that an adoption never materialized in the time we were active. Like, not even remotely close. I know, we were active for only over a year but still, I thought there would be some activity. Our adoption is currently on hold. Our plan is to re-open it once the baby is a year old and hopefully adoption is still in our future. We never, ever planned on having 4 kids but if there's one thing I know, it doesn't matter what you plan on:) The only way I think we would not re-open it, or at least not for 5 years or so, would be if we were going to be having twins.

5. When I thought my thyroid was acting up in September due to the miscarriage, it was actually being stimulated by HCG. Apparently this can happen in the first trimester. I have a `very high probability' of relapsing (with Graves' Disease) when the baby is one month old but I'm not too worried about that right now. I will just get my blood tests and take my medication as soon as I need to.

6. I am going with a midwife this time which I am very happy about. It's not that I didn't like my doctor, but this is my last one and I have seen a birth with a midwife and it looked like something I would like to do. I am also planning on a VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 C-sections). This is not an easy decision and we will see what the OB says about it. There are pretty much equal risks in a VBA2C and a 3rd C-section. The one thing that does freak me out is the 1.36% chance of uterine rupture (which is reduced if you are not induced etc). I don't want to put my baby at risk for this but at the same time, there are risks with the section too. The main reason for not wanting a C-section is that I don't want to have major surgery and have to recover from it. It is not fun, especially when you don't have the needed support (besides Gary). I don't have a mom that can come help me for a week. Although, I'm thinking of hiring someone...let me know if you have any ideas. I have a lot of time to figure this out (sort of) and at the same time, I don't want to think about it at all.

7. I have put my volunteer work with NILMDTS on hold. There is no way I could mentally do it while pregnant and I'm trying to deal with what I've seen/heard and not let it worry me too much.

8. I am incredibly thankful that I am able to get pregnant. I know this is not easy, or possible, for everyone and I don't forget for a minute what a blessing this is. I am trying to savour each and every minute of it because this is our last time on this journey, I can tell you that!

9. I feel tired. I need to get as much as I can done during the day because once 8pm hits, I'm on the couch and not moving. I am nauseated but not as bad as the other two times. I just need to stay away from things that are a bit too flavourful. I could drink warm beverages all day long. I crave california rolls and eggs.

10. It makes me so happy to see Kai sooooo excited about it. He was so happy when we told him and that night he kissed my belly and said, `Goodnight baby, I love you!'. He is really wanting a baby sister but has mentioned that he wouldn't mind a brother that he could name baby Mario. Kai's first response was actually, `Oh, I hope auntie Maria gets a baby in her belly too!' and later told auntie Maria he would pray for her to get a baby in her belly. I think auntie Maria is pretty okay with not having a baby in her belly right now:) Koen just says that he has a baby in his belly too (which is the same response Kai gave us when we were pregnant with Koen).
11. Gary is nervous and excited. He's nervous how I'm going to be pregnant, in labour, post partum (thyroid), sleep deprived etc. He is not a baby guy. However, I know he will be super dad just like he is to our two boys now.
{Kai showing how big the baby must be based on my 9 week belly. Let me note that this is my belly at night, in the morning it's probably half the size.}

So, that's the news! We are excited and nervous and happy and scared and mostly just happy. I should also note that I am not putting this on facebook right now. If something happened, I wouldn't want to announce it to my 324 friends.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Wow. So it was really, really, really wet today. I dropped off Koen at my mother in laws this morning so I didn't have to take him along on Kai's field trip. She lives in Abbotsford (45 minutes away) but it was worth it not to have two cold and wet boys.
We were there for 45 minutes before it actually started so by the time we got on the tractor ride, Kai was pretty cold and ready to go home:) Oh well, he picked a pumpkin (they were all too small he said, so he's giving it to Koen) and I forced him to look at some animals with me. There were probably about 20 different schools there, so crazy busy!
Kai's behaviour at the end (just complaining `I want to go home' and not wanting to look at anything) totally reminds me of myself as a teenager with my family. For the ages of 12-15, I was not a happy camper. As long as he's getting it out of his system now, hopefully he won't act like a teenage girl when he's older:)
The benefit of not having Koen along was that I could hold Kai's hand and I could have conversations with about 4 other parents. Because I don't do the drop off/pick up, I don't get to know a lot of parents so it is important to me. AND, can I just say that Gary was gone all week (yay me for doing it alone this week!!) I had to do the drop off/pick up and there is no way I would want to do that for Kai (it's only 15-20 minutes each way, but still, that adds up!). I'm so incredibly thankful that there is before and after school care so that Gary can take him each day.
I'm happy to have Gary back home now. I think the hardest part is that I always do the night things with the kids (humidifier, get them water etc when they're sick) and Gary does the early mornings. So, because they were sick with colds and coughing all night and then getting up before 6am, I was pretty tired. Monkeys. Better than last time he did the fall hike when the kids had the flu.

I think I need to make some soup for dinner, I feel frozen to the bones. I'm getting old. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
Love, Louise

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Because Kai and Ani are in kindergarten, and Izzy is in preschool, the kids don't get to see each other as much anymore. However, the last two days we did hang out so Maria and I could share the joy (chaos) of dinnertime with the kiddos while the husbands were working. I can't believe how well the kids still get along, it's amazing. Totally different interests but they make it work. The girls even played Transformers with Kai at our house, that's pretty wild for two princesses. They also make homes for ladybugs and play soccer and hopscotch.
As a side note, if there is anything that my kids can't finish eating, I usually point out what it's good for (protein=build your muscles, you'll be so strong! etc). It doesn't work as well on Izzy. Apparently eating all your dinner is good for growing princess hair. The things I never had to learn about by having boys.
Kenzie scrunchy nose smile. She's on the move running around! The littlest baby in our extended family is all grown up just in time for the next babies to start coming in December! I know I've got at least one new niece in the mix!

What else is new?

Koen, who has been sort of potty trained for months (meaning, we take him every 2-3 hours and he's fine), has now been consistently going on his own. We don't have to ask/tell him, he goes when he needs to. Finally. He's cute and wild.

Kai took a big whiff of Langley farm air today and proclaimed, `I LOVE the smell of manure'.

I definitely need to take more pictures of my own kids. This is probably the toughest time of year photo wise because each weekend has about 4 sessions and it is so, so, so weather dependent with not a lot of room to reschedule. Anyway, back to my point, taking pictures of my own family is what I love best so I need to do that some more.

Bon nuit.
Love, Louise

Monday, October 17, 2011


Do anyone else's kids eat huge amounts of food all day long? These boys have three huge meals a day (where they eat everything) and eat way more snacks than I do. I try to fill them up with muffins, grapes, apples, sandwiches etc between meals, but no matter what, they don't stop! I'm thankful that they are not picky and will seriously eat almost anything but I'm so tired of the `I'm hungry' all day long. Hmmm...reminds me of when they were babies. Non stop need for milk!

Do I just put a big snack kit together every day and leave it on the counter where they can grab what they want, whenever they want? Do I make them eat a bowl of oatmeal between meals to keep their tummies happy? Should we have set snack times so they don't ask and just know they have to wait until a certain time? It gets embarrassing because no matter where we are, they proclaim their hunger which makes me feel awkward when we are visiting someone. And seriously, if I hear `But I'm sooooo hungry!' one more time......

Thoughts? Is this what boys are like and I need to get used to it? Our poor future grocery bill:( We won't be able to afford to eat out with these piggies. You should see how much sushi they ate last night...

Lovely Sunshine

Wow, we were blessed with some AMAZING sunshine this weekend. I was thankful because that means the kids play nicely outside, and also, I had a few photo sessions. If they they needed to be postponed, there's not really any free space to put another one. I am now trying to work just 3 hours a day which feels really good. People always assume that because I'm at home and I just do `some photography', I don't work. It drives me crazy. Having a business is work. Yes, so blessed to be with my kids BUT I also do work every single day. The end.

This is Kai's space downstairs. He loves his Wii. I never thought we would get him one so young but he does it instead of watching tv during quiet time and he also plays with the neighbours or Gary so I feel like it's sort of a better option? He can kick my butt in any game. He is particularly into Mario Kart and now, Mario Galaxy. We also balance it out with some lovely nerdy math activity books, which he actually loves. We always get them from Costco and I'm impressed by them. Did I mention that Kai is loving school? He really, really is. He also loves cutting out shapes. He will ask me to draw a bunch of things for him and then spend half an hour cutting them out. He is also doing swimming lessons right now and it doing a great job.
Koen is a monkey. He is a good kid. He is big on nicknames or just any name. Here are some things he will say to me in a day:
`Let's go, Coach!' `Way to go, Chaps!' `Can I have a snack, Hudson?' `Let's go to the park, Mr. Goffert'. Mr. Goffert is his favourite thing to call Gary or I. I can tell you that I know exactly where Koen gets this need to call people silly names. Gary.
Koen and I attend three programs a week: Strong Start, Kids Care Drop In (our church), and Noah's Ark Learning Start (library program at Kai's school). It works really well and he is loving it. Great intro for preschool I think!
I got this bench to deal with backpacks/shoes/hats. The kids know where to put them and that they have to be emptied before they go in their spot. I actually got recycle bins from Ikea to put in the bench because they are so much more durable than those cloth baskets you can get. It's perfect for their shoes. This is also the time out bench:)
This is the bookshelf that I ended up getting for Kai's clothes. It looks sort of messy in this picture but it works well inside the closet.

In health news, my thyroid is good (woohoo! Well, I feel good so I'm assuming my numbers are decent) and my jaw is bad (grrr). I am so excited to have an appointment at the TMJ clinic in Chilliwack and can't wait for my appointment. It's three weeks away, which sucks, but it's supposed to be the best. I'm thinking I will likely need surgery but we will see what he says! My friend who went through them to fix her jaw said he is great, although, it is a pricey process. She spent $7,000. I'm really hoping that mine won't be that much. I used to complain that Gary's mouth cost us a lot of money (all the root canals, fillings, crowns etc) but now I can't talk. I know we have some coverage as I believe it's under orthodontics but nothing close to that!

What's up ahead this week? Looking forward to five photo sessions (including my sister Trish's maternity session), a field trip to Aldor Acres with Kai's class, and hopefully a whole lot more sunshine!

Have a wonderful week.
Love, Louise

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thai Cashew Chicken and Broccoli on Quinoa

As mentioned, I bought the `Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood' and wanted to get started on it. Gary and I have been pretty good about weekly menu planning and this week was time to really get some new quinoa recipes. Reems Eats recommended starting with this one.

{Excuse the presentation, I decided to take a picture after I had started:) Gary's big on presentation.}

The recipe is here if you wanna try it out. Gary and I give it a 7.5/10 which is pretty good. The boys loved it too and Koen especially loved eating the `trees'. I love anything with a hint of peanut butter:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Kai and Koen are non stop wrestling chatterboxes. They fight a lot which is instigated by either Kai saying `Koen stinks' or Koen running up to Kai and knocking him down. However, more than anything, they are best buds. Most of their wrestling involves intense giggling rather than crying and screaming.
{This was drawn by Kai and I love that they are holding hands...well, that's what it's supposed to look like! He definitely got the proportions of their head correct!}

Kai says he would like a little sister named Rosie and that he's going to start praying for that.

Also, when we were driving today, someone cut me off and I muttered `idiot' under my breath. Kai said, `Daddy and I were reading the 10 Commandments and you are not allowed to say naughty words. You just made God really sad.'. Oops. Nothing like kids to keep you in check!

And finally, the boys were sharing a room and as usual, it was Koen that was chatting non stop and keeping Kai up. So, Koen came into the hall and said, `Mommy, I'm being too noisy!'. Who tells on their self?

In other news:
1. Our car was broken into (in Vancouver) and they stole our stereo. Lame. Mostly sucks for Gary as he loves listening to his sports radio in our commuter car:) Interesting part is I found a stereo on craigslist which I'm pretty sure was ours, posted on craigslist the day after it was stolen.
2. I'm not sure what to do about my jaw. Chiro is not working but I'm going to continue going (next appt in 1 hour). I'm considering the TMJ clinic in Chilliwack (an hour away) and I will be talking to them tomorrow. I just want the best expert taking care of it. How many fingers can you get vertically in your mouth? Four? I can just get one to two in right now, that's how seized up my jaw is. Lame.
3. I bought the `Quinoa 365: The Everyday Super Food' recipe book and tonight I'll be making the Thai Cashew Chicken and Broccoli on Quinoa recipe...should be good!

Have a great day!
Love, Louise

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear 20 Year Old Louise

Dear 20 Year Old Louise,

Thank you for eating healthy and exercising. However, there are several aspects of your health that you are not taking into account. Take care of your jaw problems now. Your mouth guard is not enough, go see a physio/chiro/specialist. Seriously, it's just going to get way worse. And secondly, running around stressed out is going to catch up with you.


33 Year Old Louise (who stopped stressing out about 2 years ago when diagnosed with an autoimmune disease aggravated by stress and who also has a mouth that only opens half way now and it limited to softer foods. Please, please, please let all this chiro stuff work and let me be able to have a full functioning jaw again. The end.)

{Dad and Joanne are on the east coast and Steve is hunting...but we have more than enough room for them!}

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Chiropractor

I'm not afraid of many things (except heights, spiders, and thinking a shark will bite me while swimming in the ocean!!) but for some reason I was afraid of the chiropractor. Not like sweaty afraid, but it was in the back of my mind. I told him so he would go easy on me. Anyway, he definitely made me feel comfortable and also confirmed that I have a lot of problems in my upper back, neck and my jaw. He did his thing which were the manipulations with his hands and that machine thingy that punches you, I liked that thing, even on my jaw. He spent the whole half hour with me.

It felt totally fine with my back. With my neck I was nervous but it didn't hurt (nothing like signing away a consent form that you understand a manipulation in the cervical region can cause a stroke). I would be okay never having my neck dealt with but I know it is so connected to my jaw issues. My posture sucks and photography makes it a billion times worse. Heavy camera around the neck and sitting hunched over at the computer.

With my jaw I was afraid he was going to do a sudden movement to get it back into place but nope, it is going to take a lot of work. I really, really hope that I will be able to properly open my mouth again due to the pain factor and also, eating food in really small pieces isn't my favourite thing to do. I have to go see him again on Friday. I don't notice my jaw being any different at all but I really hope he can fix it. The pain I feel on my right side is like I've been punched in the face. I mean, I could live the rest of my life like this but it sure would not be ideal! Also, I would likely never be able to get my teeth cleaned again because they couldn't get in there!

Anyway, I survived. We'll see how Friday goes. Also, Gary and I are having a date night Friday!! So excited, we are going to the movies!! I'm thinking either 50/50 or Moneyball. Any recommendations?

Bon nuit.
Love, Louise

PS My husband is great. I had to provide a snack today at a mom's group and when I came downstairs this morning, Gary had cut up all the fruits and veggies for me before he left for work. Nice guy.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Organizing Machine

I've been an organizing machine! I had three whole days off last week (no sessions or editing to do!) and bought a new tv stand for the basement (as we have a new tv down there for the Wii), a new bench for the kids shoes and backpacks, and a new bookcase shelf thingy for Kai's closet. We also bought a new to us upright Kenmore freezer (wow, that's a lot of new stuff)!! This is exciting as we have been trying to cram our little freezer in the garage full of food all the time. Sadly, while cleaning it out, I found 100 oz of breastmilk that was too old to save for anyone. It was about 2 year old. I was a little sad throwing it away.

Anyway, I've been trying to declutter a bunch of stuff so everything is starting to look better. Also, I packed up all of Koen's size two stuff and then got all of Kai's old size three stuff out (which is fun to see again!). Glad the clothes can be re-used!
There are still a few more things that we need to do organization wise to finish off all the rooms, but I guess really, that job is never done:) This all stemmed from making the spare room downstairs a proper spare room...

I really love my Tuesdays with Koen. Strong Start in the morning, lunch, errands, and walk. He is my monkey. Today he just kept calling me his husband. It was pretty funny. `You are my husband! Hi, husband!'.

Salmon in the oven for dinner, YUM! Now, just waiting for Gary and Kai to come home.

Tomorrow is crazy busy and ends with a chiro appointment for my jaw. I've had TMJ dysfunction for about 10 years and it has gotten really bad in the last 6 months (jaw cracks every time I eat, yawn etc). Then, last week, I ate something hard, it slipped a bit and now I can only open my mouth halfway and it hurts. So, to the chiro I go. I'm hoping it helps!

Have a wonderful week. This was so random.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Run For The Cure Race Day!

Okay, so it's not really a `race' as it's more a time to honour those that have had breast cancer. However, amongst the sisters, it is kind of a race:) It is always a really wonderful way to remember my mom and for the kids to feel connected to an oma they never met. This year, our group was a bit smaller as we were down two sisters, their husbands, and their big baby bellies. Regardless, we still had a wonderful time (besides that fact that they started 30 minutes late...seriously organizers, think about people with kids!!).
The winner of the sisters for this year was MARIA!! Way to go. She beat me by about a minute, I guess it helps to actually run once in a while:) I came in around 34 minutes (I would rather be closer to 32 but oh well!). Gary was ahead of me by quite a ways, as always, pushing the boys in the double stroller. He's always the first double stroller in (second of all strollers today:) I have to say that it was a nice leisurely run and I enjoyed it! I love the nature paths that we run on, it was good. Yay for a healthy body!!!
Looking forward to seeing how many kids there will be in our family next year!!
{Yes, my eyes are closed...Jackie, Tyler, Nut, Steve, Dad and Joanne, hope to see you next year!!}
Kai finished the last 200 meters with me. He then said, `Mommy, you were the first of the slow group! I couldn't believe it, I thought you would be last!'. First of the slow group? Dude, there's not slow group and I did just fine. Thought I would be last? Dude, your mother is in decent shape.
{Kai and I running to the finish line. He met me on the other side of the track and we ran the rest together.}
Thank you to all of those who supported me, I raised $250.00 in 24 hours! Incredible! Thank you to KS, LW, TF, MV, SS, and MB.

Miss you mom. So thankful to have had you in my life!!
Love, Louise