Making Memories

Summer is such a fun time of year.  Sleeping in.  Staying up late.  Spending time with family and friends.  I made a promise to myself to spend time this summer making memories with my kids.  And, twice in the past week, we’ve gone on an adventure.  We went to Butterfly World and Coombs on Thursday, and last night, we packed a supper and met our besties at the Elk.  We ate.  We ran and played.  And, made memories…

A photo of all of us together at the Elk…  bionicles as centrepieces… and each one of us.  What we look like - at this very moment in time.  The kids are all changing so quickly… I don’t want to forget! 

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011 Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

When we were getting ready to go, one, then two, then four, then all of the boys had their shirts off.  And, were throwing them in the air.  I love how creative kids can be when they aren’t distracted by all of the electronic world.  How we are all able to use our imaginations when we are out in nature.  Owen tied all of the boys shirts on them like capes, and they all started running.  “We’re superheroes!”

Upload from July 27, 2011

A photo on the Elk of the Superhero Squad.

Upload from July 27, 2011

I told them to “point at the sky”

Upload from July 27, 2011

Then I said “point at your Mom…”  But the boys heard “point at your bum…”  This photo just makes me laugh so much!

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

I love these kiddos so much and love how it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing - they love being together!

Some fun shots from our Butterfly World adventure.  Same kiddos, different place, same kind of crazy fun!

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

O and Hudsy picking wild blackberries at Farnham

Upload from July 27, 2011

Upload from July 27, 2011

Kim & Mike ~ An island wedding

I love creative weddings.  I love sweet intimate gatherings of people.  I love adorable couples.  So, this past weekend, all three of these loves came together when I was blessed to be a part of Kim & Mike’s wedding. 

The lyrics of a special song written by bridesmaid Katherine… “Just a small town girl, livin’ in an island world….. Just a city boy, growing up in New York state”…  Kim and Mike grew up in two different countries, on opposite coasts, and they met in Montreal.  The world has a way of making things work when two people are just supposed to be together.   They are a perfect couple, and I just knew the second I met them that I would love working with them!  When we talked about all of the details of their wedding day, my mind was swirling.  There would be a bus, a boat, an island, some great historic buildings, family, friends, and lots and lots of love.  I couldn’t wait! 

The wedding day started with the girls at the salon in Campbell River.  We then drove up island to Kelsey Bay, where we boated over to Hardwicke Island in preparation for the wedding.  I had gone over a few days prior to spend some time with Kim and Mike, and was amazed by all of the beauty and history that this sweet island held.  I couldn’t wait to photograph them in places that meant so much to both of them, and were so beautiful at the same time.  I loved the old logging camp, with it’s gorgeous buildings, old vehicles, and moss-covered logging truck.  The schoolhouse where Kim’s dad went to school.  The house that her great-grandfather lived in.  The reef.  The wharf.  It is so wonderful to have a wedding where every thing around you holds history.  Tells a story.  And I am so thankful to have been asked to capture the love and joy that was a part of this day, and tell the story… the story of Kim & Mike starting their journey as Husband and Wife, in a place that means so much to both of them and their family. 

Thank you so much Kim & Mike for asking me to be a part of your day.  I simply adore you both!!

xox Niki

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

 Upload from July 17, 2011

Boarding the boat… bound for Hardwicke Island!

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Married!

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Cutie-pie Katherine…

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

LOVE!!

Upload from July 17, 2011

The original homestead

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Kim, you are absolutely stunning!

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

After boating everyone back, the guests all boarded a bus bound for Campbell River and the Dolphins Resort

Upload from July 17, 2011

Two of the greatest families ever!

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Mike’s dad joined the band for a song… he’s a great singer!

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Upload from July 17, 2011

Much love to you both Kim and Mike… I wish you all the happiness in the world together!

xox Niki

Family & Friends…  You’ll need the login code that I sent in your email…

To view the slideshow go here:   To go straight to the gallery go here

(Not so little) Boys

I know recently I have been talking a lot about how much my boys have grown and how fast the time is flying.  Well, this past weekend, I had a session with a Mom and her boys who I swear were in Kindergarten like, yesterday, and now are heading into grade 9 and 12.  What?  That is just how fast the time has gone! 

I met Tracey, Brady and Clayton at Peppercorn in the early evening, and spent some time just letting them be.  I love being a Mom of little boys, and loved being in the presence of a Mom and her teenage boys.  It just made me smile, and look forward to all of the great things to come.  They were so fun, and SO easy to photograph.  Seriously Tracy… my camera loved you guys!  Thanks for being so willing to come along with my crazy ideas, and for being such great sports (even with grumbling teenage tummies)… it was fun!  Enjoy your photos!

xo Niki

Upload from July 09, 2011

Upload from July 09, 2011

Love this photo of Tracey

Upload from July 09, 2011

Upload from July 09, 2011

Upload from July 09, 2011

Upload from July 09, 2011

Upload from July 09, 2011

ahhh… brothers

Upload from July 09, 2011

Upload from July 09, 2011

Such a beautiful family…

Upload from July 09, 2011

Five People Twelve Times // Wrap up!

Upload from July 08, 2011

What?  It’s already been a year since I started this project?  You mean I have ACTUALLY posted about five people TWELVE TIMES!?  I am thrilled to say that I have.  I am proud to say that I have.  I am thankful that I have.  And, I want to issue a challenge to you.  This project has given me so much more than I ever dreamed it would.  I can read back over the past year and remember all of the silly and sweet things that my kiddos have said and done.  I can recall who was sick when.  I can look at a photo of my family (that I am in) for every single one of the past 12 months.  And…. That’s AWESOME

And, my challenge is this…

I challenge you to take a few moments at the end of each month (or whenever it works for you) to sit down and reflect about the month you and your family have had (and maybe even sneak a photo… that you are in!)   I know (oh, how I know) just how busy we all are.  I know that all of us don’t necessarily have blogs… and that’s okay.  I also know that we are all seeing our children go from being 100% dependant on us to making their own sandwiches… at lightening speed (and we don’t want to forget all the ‘moments’ in between).  I was unsure at first.  I knew that I WANTED to do this… I just didn’t know if I COULD do this.  But, if I can… anyone can.  And, I can tell you first hand, that I am so incredibly thankful that I have these memories of the past year (and photos of my family) recorded.  So LET’S DO THISTOGETHER!    If you’re on board, leave me a comment.  Or, if you’d like to do this, and want to whisper it to me at the school in the hallway, that’s great!  OR… just do it for yourself and your family, and don’t tell anyone.  It’s up to you!  I can tell you though, that I will be continuing this project… I will keep forcing my boys and Andy to take a photo with me each month.  haha!  And, I will be ever more thankful at the end of the next year.  That, I know for sure!  Thank you so much for reading along with me this past year.  Thank you for being here.  It has also been a year since I started this blog, and it just wouldn’t be the same without you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! 

xoxo Niki

Five People Twelve Times //05.11

may-5-12.jpg

May was CRAZY!  For a lot of different reasons.  Some good.  Some maybe not so much.  We visited Gabriola Island over Mother’s Day weekend, and absolutely loved it. I have lived on Vancouver Island for 15 years now, and have only ever been to Quadra, and Saltspring Island two times each.  What?  In 15 years…?  I decided that weekend, that I want to explore more of the beautiful islands around us.  We are so blessed to have so much beauty so close.  And, the kids absolutely loved it.   We also took a photo ‘by the elk’… 17 years of driving past it… this was the first time we stopped and took a photo! 

Gabriola was so nice.  We loved spending time with our cousins, eating lobster fresh from Nova Scotia and playing on the beach catching anything that moved.  Honestly, the boys all got along so well and just ran and played in the dirt pile - they only talked to us when they were hungry!  They loved playing with Charlie so much and can’t wait till we get to go back to ‘Charlie’s Cabin’ again soon! 

We spent Mother’s day evening at a very special place.  Running and playing and dreaming.  We are so blessed!  And, we had pizza at Pizza Hut.  ‘Cause a trip to Courtenay just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Pizza Hut!  We sit in the same booth every single time we are there, and order the same thing… the boys are crazy about their stuffed-crust hawaiian!

I checked a couple of goals off of my 101 in 1001 list.  I went to Seattle (#21) and attended Justin & Mary’s workshop (#22) - actually I did two workshops!  I will be blogging a couple of posts about these two things.  This trip was a whirlwind.  I was gone almost a week, and I feel like I missed so much at home.  I missed my boys (all 4 of them) like CRAZY and I just couldn’t wait to get home to them.  I didn’t even stop in the states to go shopping on my way back (and if you know how much I like to shop….).  There is something so soothing about home.  Your own bed, the sound of a child grinding his teeth in the next room, creaking bunk-beds when a sleepy little boy turns over in the night, the sound of the shower while I am still cozy in my bed, my kettle and a hot cup of tea in my favourite mug.  Ahhh, home.  I love it and know that it doesn’t matter where you are, what kind of house you live in, those things that you love so much are just in you.  They are feelings, not things, that make you happy.  It is the love that is felt in my family that makes me miss them so much when I am away, and so happy when I am with them.  Running, playing, being silly, reading stories, making paper airplanes, eating breakfast together… LOVE

Five People Twelve Times //04.11

 IMG_4221.JPG

Wowza.  April was cold.  Really cold.  It snowed.  And rained buckets of rain. And yes, I know that it is not Christmas… but it has been so cold, I decided to dig into the vault and pick out a favourite ‘cold-ish’ photo.  ‘Cause it’s been cold!  And cause I really love this one!!  In January I decided that I would participate in the 2011 Vancouver Sun Run, and in January I started walking 10K every Sunday morning with Catherine.  In April, 3 of the walks we did were in the 15-20K range, and those 3 walks were in the pouring rain, or snow!  The Sun Run was on April 17th and Catherine, Caren and I (and 49,362 other people) set out on what was a beautiful Sunday morning (maybe the only one in April!)

Owen celebrated his 9th birthday this month.  NINE!  He was thrilled because his birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year, and he was going to get “all his Easter treats AND presents!”  His birthday was quiet.  The weekend was quiet.  We had a turkey dinner with Jerome, who brought a delicious ham over as well.  Yummy!  And, we can’t forget the chocolate cake.  Quite possibly the only kind of cake I will ever have to make… forever.  It’s all of our favourite!   There was a “Giant, giant, giant box of Hot Wheels at the Grocery Store… It was GIANT!”  And when we went to get groceries on Saturday night, the boys spent the entire time rifling through that box… looking for the perfect car.  I loved watching it.  “Look at this one!  Look at this one… it’s got mud on the tires!  Look at this one, it’s super cool!”  They each brought 2 home.  To add to our collection.  ‘Cause you can never have too many Hot Wheels!

The tooth fairy made multiple visits to our house this month.  Seany lost 3 more teeth!  Every time I turned around the gap in his mouth was getting bigger and bigger.  And, in true Seany boy spirit, he was thoughtful.  Andy was away when each of his teeth came out.  And Sean, sweet Sean, decided that he didn’t want to put his tooth under his pillow until Daddy got to come home and see it.  He continually amazes me with his thoughtfulness.  He asks how my sleep was, tells me when he looks out the window at bedtime that “it’s a beautiful way to end the day” and always hugs me and gives me a kiss first thing in the morning.  One afternoon Sean was building with Lego and I told him that he was an incredibly creative boy, and great builder, he said thank you.  Then he told me that I was a great Mommy, that he was lucky to be my boy and gave me a hug.  “I thought Mommy, since you gave me such a nice compliment, it would be nice to give you one too.”  Annnnd then, my heart melted, into a puddle on the floor.  But, that’s just who Sean is. 

Thomas is stretching out like crazy!  He’s almost as tall as Sean.  He likes to sometimes sit down and write in his journal.  He told me the other day that he learned how to draw people better, and then drew one in the air for me.  “You know Mama, you do this for the legs, then body, then arms, head and don’t forget the smile.”  We’ve been talking about making his bed bigger.  It’s one of those ones from IKEA that extends as your child grows…. it will be full size when we do.  Cause he’s 5.  And not a baby anymore.  And, I am okay with that! 

Spring is always busy.  And a time for change.  Warmer days (usually), brighter evenings, cherry blossoms, birds singing in the yard… I really love Spring.  Spring brings so much newness and freshness to us.  And, two of us celebrate our birthdays in the spring.  I was blessed to have an amazing birthday weekend filled with friends, family, chocolate, surprises, a decorated house, a huge walk in the rain, hugs and treats from people I love, and just an amazing day with Andy and the boys.  This just may have been the best birthday ever.  And, at girls night the night before my birthday, I crossed another thing off my 101 in 1001 list… I had accupunture!  Goal #47 - Check!   April was good.  Spring is here!  What are your favourite things about Spring?

xox Niki

Vancouver Sun Run - Goal #7 - Check!

I have always wanted to take part in the Vancouver Sun Run.  Canada’s largest 10K race, this year saw 49,635 people out on an absolutely beautiful sunny Sunday morning.  It was so great!  It took us 45 minutes just to get across the start line.  Having walked 10K almost every Sunday since January, I was prepared for about how long it would take, but wasn’t prepared for how I would feel running on pavement.  It was all good though, different, but good.  Love setting goals and checking them off my list!

Vancouver Sun Run… goal #7… CHECK

Catherine, Caren and I after the race. 

IMG_0241.JPG

Grandparents

Isn’t it great when you have people in your life that you love like family?  This is how we feel about Gary and Karen.  We’ve known them for years!  And, in the past 9 years, we have had a standing date with them on Halloween.  Their house is always our last stop, and they are so incredibly sweet to Owen, Sean and Thomas.   The kids LOVE them so much and so do we… they are kind of like grandparents to our boys.  So over Easter weekend, I got to spend the afternoon with them both, and photograph them with their (actual) grandchildren.  Kevin and Katie were here with their sweet little girls, Alison and Monica.  I loved it!  They are just the sweetest grandparents.  And… these are some pretty cute little girls! 

IMG_9476.jpg

IMG_9489.jpg

IMG_9434.jpg

 Alison was drawing hearts in the sand

IMG_9558.jpg

 IMG_9533.jpg

 Could I love this photo of Gary and Karen more?  Nope… pretty much one of my favourites!

IMG_9460A.jpg

 Love this so much!

IMG_9664.jpg

IMG_9607.jpg

IMG_9569.jpg

IMG_9451A.jpg

IMG_9600.jpg

IMG_9681.jpg

Thanks so much for such a fun afternoon! 

xox Niki

101 in 1001

101.jpg

So, this post is long time coming.  Actually a year or so…  I wrote this post in a notebook, on an airplane on April 9, 2010.

A while ago Melissa Jill, a friend and mentor posted her personal 101 goals in 1001 days list.  I know that setting goals and writing them down is a way to grow as an individual both personally and professionally.  Writing them down makes you accountable, and I’m all about being accountable.  I just attended a 2 day workshop with Melissa and 12 other photographers (last April) and came home incredibly inspired to finally make that list, write it down, and be accountable.  Since attending Melissa’s workshop has been one of my goals for a long time, I am going to write it down and check it off the list!  Don’t you ever do that…?  Write on your list of ‘things to do,’ things you’ve already done - just to scratch them off?   Me too!  :)

Here goes… my 101 Goals in 1001 Days!  (This list is exactly as it was written on the airplane on April 9, 2010… a little over  one year ago!)  It’s exciting to see just how many of these goals I have already accomplished in the past year!  And, here I am blogging my list… goal #96.  CHECK!

Start Date:  April 9, 2010

End Date:  January 4, 2013 (here’s how I calculated the date)

  1. Melissa Jill’s MJ 2 Day workshop  COMPLETED 04/11/10
  2. Visit Leticia in Tucson  COMPLETED APRIL 2010
  3. Start a blog   COMPLETED 06/21/2010
  4. Attend WPPI
  5. See Newfoundland
  6. Do the Great Walk (63.5km) again
  7. Vancouver Sun Run 10K
  8. Visit San Diego with my family  COMPLETED 02/15/2011
  9. Road trip to Alberta
  10. Buy a King size bed
  11. Read 3 books on lighting
  12. Blog every day for 2 weeks straight
  13. Make pastry from scratch and bake a pie
  14. Connect with 5 other Vancouver Island Photographers
  15. Photograph the MacLeod family
  16. Find a Canadian album supplier  COMPLETED MAY 2010
  17. Buy a full frame camera  COMPLETED MAY 2010
  18. Update logo and branding
  19. Take a jewellery making course
  20. Go to Monster Jam with Andy and the boys
  21. Visit Seattle
  22. Attend Justin and Mary’s workshop
  23. Master back button focus
  24. Photograph a wedding at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort   COMPLETED 06/27/2010
  25. Take a great portrait of each of my boys (Andy included)
  26. Catch up on my Christmas scrapbook (up to the end of 2011)
  27. Learn how to use fondant
  28. Go to Great Wolf Lodge with my family
  29. Buy comfy ‘shooting shoes’  COMPLETED JUNE 2010
  30. Buy a Kelly Moore Bag  COMPLETED JANUARY 2011
  31. Systematize workflow
  32. Write all steps of workflow down in a ‘manual’ of sorts
  33. Hire someone to assist me in the office
  34. Update wedding contract
  35. Organize filing system better and invest in client organization/studio management software
  36. Go away with Andy for a night and have a beautiful dinner
  37. Bake a really great cheesecake
  38. Order sample wedding album 
  39. Sleep 8 hours a night, every night for 2 weeks straight
  40. Visit Quebec
  41. Order family photo book for 2008, 2009, 2010
  42. Make a ‘jean quilt’ out of all of our old jeans
  43. Do something new for my next birthday (38th)  COMPLETED 04/02/2011
  44. Take each of my boys on a very special individual date (nice dinner and a movie or anything they want to do)
  45. Read ‘The ‘E’ Myth Revisited’
  46. Wear a dress… just because
  47. Have acupuncture  COMPLETED 04/02/2011
  48. Get Invisalign  COMPLETED 02/08/2011
  49. Go to April Point
  50. Visit Denman Island
  51. Spend a weekend in Tofino
  52. Order pens
  53. Photograph Kelly  COMPLETED 05/09/2010
  54. Teach a photography class to kids  COMPLETED 04/19-23/2010
  55. Cook a really good steak
  56. Complete a Triathlon
  57. Shoot 3 weddings in 2010  COMPLETED JUNE 26, 27 AND JULY 31
  58. Shoot 6 weddings in 2011
  59. Make a gingerbread house from scratch
  60. Do ‘Cans for Comments’ on my blog at Christmas
  61. Publish a children’s book “JOE the Cowapilder”
  62. Visit California  COMPLETED FEB 2011
  63. See the Grand Canyon
  64. Visit my Grandma and play BINGO together
  65. Photograph my Grandma
  66. Run for the Cure 5K - 2010  COMPLETED 10/03/2010
  67. Design (and order) an album in a day
  68. Finish Andy’s scrapbook
  69. Have tea with my girlfriends every week for 2 months
  70. Purchase a very fast lens (either 35 1.4 or 50 1.2)  COMPLETED MAY 2010
  71. Visit Scotland
  72. Photograph my kids and frame an image of each of my boys
  73. Go on another trip with Jeannie and Elaine
  74. Back up and print all of my favourite “point and shoot” photos
  75. Make myself a ‘client’ and make time for my own photos - order personal photos at end of each month
  76. Take a framing class
  77. Photograph my parents
  78. Photograph Andy’s parents
  79. Niki Flynn art prints website
  80. Purchase land
  81. Spend a day working with Andy in the woods
  82. Finish staining our deck
  83. Make at least 100 comments on other blogs by April 9, 2011  COMPLETED - Made 132 comments!
  84. Go to Whistler  COMPLETED 01/15/2011
  85. Update website and portfolio
  86. Get one of my weddings published
  87. Host a ‘themed’ dinner party
  88. Design and order new session information packets
  89. Second shoot a wedding  COMPLETED 01/15/2011
  90. Teach photography workshops
  91. Go on a cruise with some girlfriends
  92. Take my mom to the spa for the weekend
  93. Create a studio space to meet with clients
  94. Create and send out monthly newsletters
  95. Client booking gifts
  96. Blog my 101 in 1001 list COMPLETED 05/04/11
  97. Order album for New York trip 2009
  98. Take part in Help Portrait
  99. Design and offer press printed cards as an option for clients (Christmas - Birth Announcements)
  100. Try on my wedding dress  COMPLETED 09/01/2010
  101. Read 1 book per month for 3 months.

As I typed this, I was amazed at how many of these I actually accomplished in the past year.  1001 days is a long time.  I know that more goals will come up in that time period and I will add them here.  I will continue to push myself and work to challenge myself along the way!  This 1001 days ends just a couple of months before I turn 40.  Yikes!

xo Niki

Five People Twelve Times //03.11

IMG_0036-web.jpg

What?  Already April?  So March came and went without me hardly even noticing.  We had some sick kiddos for most of the month and it just seemed to fly by.  Already now it is the middle of April and I am so behind that I think I am first.  (did your Mom ever say that when you were a kid? - Hi Mom… love you! xox) 

Anyway… Our March included some antibiotics, some more antibiotics, some burpy buckets, snoozes on the couch, movie time, and a whole lot of Tylenol and Advil.  But… now we’re all feeling better and ready for spring - if it ever stops snowing!

Owen went on a field trip to Camp Homewood in March.  He was quite sick just after we got home from California and missed the whole week that the trip was supposed to fall on.  It was postponed due to the weather… which worked out good for O - cause then he was able to go!  He loved it!  The morning he left, I was at the school, hugging him and telling him that I loved him… you know - all the ‘Mom’ things to do.  He just said, “I know Mom, bye!” as he ran to his buddies and got on the bus.  It’s absolutely amazing how in a few short years children go from being 100% dependant on you, to not really wanting you to hug them in front of their friends.  He’s growing up so much and will turn 9 this month.  I looked at my boys playing with a little toddler the other day, and I couldn’t get over how big they all looked.  Crazy.  I am sure my parents still say the same thing about me and my little brother - you know - who’s 36!

Spring break was fun - and quiet - and filled with wii tournaments, and tylenol.  The boys and I just played and played together.  I absolutely loved it.  Andy was home for the last part of spring break and we took a quick - last minute - trip to Courtenay for the day.  We visited with our old babysitter and were reminded just how much we miss her.

The month came and went very quickly, but we still made sure we took our photo (I love this project!).   Another ‘one armed self portrait’ by yours truly.  I used my new little Canon point and shoot, and almost got us all in the shot.   Making memories… a super fun day with some super fun Flynn boys! 

xo Niki