Five People Twelve Times //02.11

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So, this post is a shorty… Cause most of our month was spent on our trip, and I talk all about it here, here and here!

February was a wonderful month for us.  One of us turned 5.  And, that’s a big deal!  But, said 5 year old reminds me that he is still 4 and wants to stay 4 forever. 

So, one of us turned 5.  One of us got braces.  One of us got sick - again.  One of us has the cutest tootless grin ever. And, one of us passed a course.  All of us loved California.  And Legoland.  And our GPS lady.  And IN-N-OUT.  One of us didn’t get new runners, but new super-cute-flowery-sandals.  One of us didn’t play in the water in California, but took pictures so the one who usually does that, could play!  All of us worked hard this month.  Loved the boat ride in San Francisco.  And stayed awake watching Megamind in our hotel (usually at least two of us fall asleep!).  Three of us got new hats, but one of us lost ours.   All of us went on a roller coaster in Disneyland, but only three of us went on one in Legoland - and one of us “was the loudest screamer Legoland had ever had” according to the two of us that didn’t ride.   And, we discovered that four of us love loud ‘rock music’, much to the dismay of the one country music lover in the group. 

All of us are thankful.  And had a wonderful February.  And can’t wait till our next family vacation.

xo Niki

Zoo, Disneyland and great memories!

We went to the San Diego Zoo the day after Legoland… it was a good thing that Legoland had it’s ‘weekend’ the day after we were there, or we may have just stayed there for days.  The boys loved the animals, the double-decker bus ride, and the stuffed-life-sized-snakes they brought home as souveniers.  Mama… the snakes… not so much!  

I loved this little guy!

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these guys…

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and, the 3-week old baby hippo that just wanted to sleep.  Poor mama kept trying to get that little babe up and moving! 

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We all fought some sort of cold while we were away, but on the morning we woke up to go to Disneyland, poor little Seany was feeling rough.  We only spent one day there, but enjoyed every minute of it…  especially fighting aliens with Buzz Lightyear!

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 At the Lego store in Disneyland.

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On our way back to San Francisco, it was late… it was very rainy… and we were all hungry.   The kids wanted to go to IN-N-OUT one last time before we went home… and, on the I-5 there’s wasn’t too much to see.  So, I just plugged into our handy-dandy GPS  “restaurants” and found an IN-N-OUT only 30 miles away.  If you have never eaten at an IN-N-OUT, you must.  Yummy burgers, fresh french fries, delicious milkshakes… so good.  When we pulled up to the one that our GPS lead us to, there was about a million people there!  Maybe not a million, but every seat in the place was taken, there were about 40 or so people standing waiting inside the restaurant… waiting for food, to order, to sit down… and there was about 15 cars in the drive through.  And this was the case at every one we drove past.  It’s THAT good!   This is the first one we ate at…

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Our last-minute family vacation was well worth the wait.  I can’t wait until the next time we get to go on a little getaway together.  What I realized on this trip, is that it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, we just love being together… and that’s a great thing!

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Quite possibly the nicest hotel lobby I have seen! 

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 F is for Flamingo, Ford Flex, Flynn and Fun!  Family vacations rock!

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xox Niki

Legoland!

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The main reason we headed to San Diego was to take the boys to Legoland… they are all lego-crazy and we just knew that they would love it.  What I wasn’t prepared for, was how much I would love it!  As we walked up to the gate, we heard music playing… kind of like ‘You’ve-arrived-at-Legoland-and-it’s-going-to-be-AMAZING’ music.  And, I got teary-eyed.  I’m not gonna lie.  I was, at that moment, overwhelmed and so incredibly happy to be there with my family.  This was where we had planned to go three years ago.  And now, we were finally there!  (I got that same feeling as we left too… something about that music!)

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We went on a little factory tour and saw how they make lego using injection molds.  This one was retired after making about a zillion lego bricks (okay… it was actually 100,000,000 - but that’s a lot!)

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 Lego boats, lego money and remote controls = Heaven for 3 little boys!

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Lego ‘Mini-Land’ was probably a highlight for all of us.  It was so cool to see things that we had just seen, completely made out of lego!  If you look in the photo above, you can see a lego Golden Gate Bridge.  The boys recognized it right away and then started pointing out all of the things that we had just seen in San Francisco a couple of days prior.  I couldn’t get over the intricacies of the structures.  Every detail was there.  When on our tour of the bay, we saw the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory (which I made note of - being a chocolate lover and all), and then there it was - in Lego!  Lego trolleys, Lego Chinatown, Lego Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Las Vegas, New Orleans, farms, cities, really, it was quite incredible. 

LEGO fun fact:  There are 35 million standard Lego bricks in the park, and 22 million of them were used in Miniland alone!

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Pier 39 in SanFrancisco

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The trucks, boats and cars even moved.  The Legoland truck in this photo drove around the building, stopping periodically.

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We loved every minute of our day at Legoland.  Maybe the best thing was getting our drivers license.  Or, building lego mini figures for all the people we love.  Or, riding the ‘Knights’ Tournament’.  Maybe the ice cream?  There are so many fun memories from Legoland… it really was quite magical for us.  One of the funniest memories though may have been almost the last thing we did that day.  We decided that we would go back to the Technic Test Track roller coaster.  Owen wanted to go on it.  So we ran, through Legoland to make it back before the park closed at 5pm.  When we got there Thomas wanted to go to.  Sean said “There’s no way you’re getting me on that thing!”  So, Andy and Sean watched while Owen, Thomas and I went.  Well, you know those photos that they sell you at the end?  We HAD to buy ours it was so funny!  Sean told Andy, that “Mommy was probably the loudest screamer that Legoland had ever seen!”  (and he may be right!)  It was so much fun though.

I loved the bathroom signs. They were just so funny!

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And the lego man that the boys thought looked like Andy.  And really, he kinda did!  Put a plaid shirt on him, and they might have been twins!

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Owen and Sean getting their drivers license.

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I just couldn’t get over the things that were made out of Lego. 

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Thank you Andy for taking this photo.  That little 5 year old point and shoot does a pretty good job!  There’s the mama - mid scream!  Note the smiles on Thomas’ and Owen’s faces.  They loved it!

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ahhh Legoland… I can’t wait to visit you again!

xo Niki

California

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Three years ago, we all got our passports with the intention of going on a trip.  Thomas was 2 at the time, so his passport was about to expire, and remembering the production to get them, I wanted to go on a trip before that happened.

So… we booked a trip on a Saturday with our air miles, and flew out 5 days later.  I was booking hotels at 4:30am on Wednesday while editing and posting baby photos that I had taken that day, before leaving at 5:30am to drive to Victoria.  Yes, I know that was an incredibly-long run-on sentence… and that is exactly how the time was spent from the day we booked, till the day we left. We packed anything and everything into those 5 days (but I left the ”packing” until about 3:30am.)  If you know me well, you know that this is just how I roll.  Last-minute-Niki-Flynn they call me.  So, when we actually got to the airport and got on that plane, it felt amazing.

We have travelled so much with the boys across the country, but we have never really taken a ‘family vacation’ before.  This was exciting.  We had big plans.  We made them in 4 days!  haha!   All kidding aside, this trip was incredibly exciting for all of us and we had been dreaming about it since Thomas was 2. 

We flew out of Victoria on a direct flight to San Francisco - which was so great.  A little over 2 hours and we were there!  We boarded the train to the rental agency and afterwards Thomas repeated “Please hold on.  Please set luggage cart breaks to on.” about a million times (and still does it - so cute!)  They loved the train ride… it was very exciting for them.

We rented a small SUV for our trip and politely declined the GPS unit. We’re both good navigators!  We are handy with a map! Have good spatial awareness, and can find our way around!  We did however accept the upgrade to a larger vehicle which surprisingly had a GPS in it.  The guy came down to check on us while we were loading up, and said, “Hey, I thought there was a GPS in here.”  I think he felt bad for us and knew that we needed it.  And oh boy, were we EVER thankful to have it.  We LOVED our GPS lady, and the rental guy, who knew we needed her.  It made our trip a million times better - and even helped us to find the closest IN-N-OUT a couple of times!

The plan was this.  Fly into San Francisco, then spend a day or so exploring there.  Then, drive down the coast to San Diego, visit Legoland, the Zoo and Disneyland, then head back to San Francisco for our flight home. 

San Francisco is a beautiful city.  We had our first dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, and the boys loved it!  What an amazing place!  We stayed right in Fisherman’s Wharf and spent our first day there.  After our super yummy lunch at the Boudin Bakery, where Thomas had “the best pizza ever” and we watched “Hot Disco” walking around, we hopped on a tour that took us out into the bay.  We went under the Golden Gate bridge, past Alcatraz and then back.  It was a beautiful day, and everyone was so friendly and kind to us. 

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At the end of the day we just drove, looking for a hotel.  It was dark when we found one, but we were just so happy to settle in.  When we woke up the next morning and went down for breakfast, we were blessed to have an incredible view.  We had stumbled upon a hotel that was right on the beach.  We watched a surfer, found a dead (little) shark, got splashed in the bum by huge waves, and got salt water splashed in our faces - well Owen did.  I didn’t have my big camera on the beach with me, and for a second it drove me crazy… then I just ran down and splashed in the water with my boys, and was thankful not to miss the fun because of my camera.  Both Andy and I had a camera on this trip, which is nice because I am actually in some of the photos. 

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 Our little Ford Flex and the coastal road behind us that we set off on.

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 We live on the west coast, and I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.  I wanted to stop at EVERY pull-out!

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 Santa Barbara was so beautiful! IMG_8483.jpg

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We Flynns love a good roadtrip.  So much to see and do. Some more of my favourite photos.  There sure are a lot of them.  I will be blogging an entire post about Legoland, and one more about the rest of the trip.  Thanks for being here… I hope you enjoy them!  :)

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xo Niki

Lillian & Ken - Wedding in Whistler

I believe that the internet has made this great big world smaller.  Very much smaller. I also believe that everything happens for a reason… it’s just amazing how things come together.  I was blessed to photograph a wedding in Whistler with a photographer from Boston, who I met because of another photographer I met in Arizona, at a workshop that I went to that I learned about on the internet.  confusing?  Yes!  But, what matters most is that the wedding and the entire weekend were wonderful, and I met some amazing people…. in real life!

Lillian and Ken are two people who the second I met them both, I felt as though I had known them forever.  They are such warm, kind people and I had such fun with them on their wedding day.  I worked with the amazing Marie Zemler Wu from Zemler Wu Photography, based out of Boston.  When we met on Friday night, and showed up at the wedding Saturday dressed almost identically (down to the same super-cute coat) I knew that we would be fast friends.  Our day together was so great… you would have never known that we had just met.  We worked so well together.  

The weather held for Lillian and Ken’s wedding, and I was part of a wonderful, intimate wedding in the adorable Edgewater Lodge in Whistler. I had many moments over the weekend where I felt, ‘everything happens for a reason,’ and indeed it does. I truly believe this weekend was a blessing to me… in so many ways!  I am so thankful to have worked with Marie.  I am so thankful to have been asked to share in the celebration of Lillian and Ken’s wedding.  It was definitely an experience I will always remember fondly.  Thank you all for including me in such a wonderful day.  Lillian and Ken, I wish you a lifetime of love and laughter together!  Marie… can’t wait till the next time!  :)

xo Niki

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Lillian and Ken opted for a ‘First Look’ and saw each other, and did all portraits, before the wedding. 

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Lillian had the most amazing, red satin Kate Spade shoes.  I loved them!

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My absolute fave.  Hanging in my office as we speak!

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The flowers and decorations inside the lodge were so beautiful.

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Now, as a test, just to see how small the world really is… please leave a comment telling me where you are.  Even if you have never commented on my, or anyone’s blogs before, I’d love to see how many different places this blog has reached!  :) 

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Weeks!

I absolutely love being a wedding photographer.  I get to share in one of the most important days in a couple’s lives.   Today was such a special day, and I was honoured to be asked to document it for Margie and Jordan.  A short, simple gathering with two people in love, their two sweet children and some family and friends.  I always feel so blessed to be at any wedding, but these very intimate ones make me feel so special.  I was asked to be there.  To document the day.  To capture the love.  And for this, I am grateful!

Thank you so much Margie and Jordan for inviting me to share in your wedding today.  I wish you both all the happiness in the world.  You have such a beautiful family and I loved sharing the day with you!

xox Niki

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Such a beautiful family… this is one of my favourites!!

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I don’t think they come much cuter than this…

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… or this!

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Vancouver

Having lived in BC for 16 years now and originally a resident of the greater Vancouver area, I have spent some time out exploring.  I always love though, when someone comes to visit, and I get to be tour-guide for the day.  Just after Christmas my girlfriend Ericha came out to visit from Philadelphia and brought her friend Jaime.  I met Ericha in the spring at a workshop in Arizona, and feel like we have known each other forever.  Jaime, I met for the first time.  Funny story… I have a quite-uncommon maiden name.  Jaime has the same last name… no relation.  I adore her and called her my cousin, sister etc. for our entire 24 hours together.  We had fun!  And, I got to see some new places too!

We started the day in Stanley Park.  It had rained for the first 2 days the girls were here, but our day together turned out to be gorgeous! 

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Prior to this trip I had never been out to Steveston… I’m not sure why… it’s so incredibly gorgeous there!  We had a delicious (maybe a bit spicy) lunch with another photographer friend Sean.  And we had hearty homemade granola bars for dessert!  I brought ‘em myself!  We realized just as we arrived that between us, we had 6, no maybe it was 7 cameras with us.  I’m a fan of the outstretched-arm-self-photo.  We took a lot of them this day! 

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And, how can photographers get together without a photo shoot?  We had some fun at Granville Island. 

Here’s my adorable friend Ericha… she took some great photos of me too on our little adventure… you can see them here!

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I had so much fun with you girls (and you too Sean!)  Can’t wait till the next time we can all get together!

xo Niki

five people twelve times //01.11

IMG_4380-2.jpgA new year.  2011, I believe is going to be fantastic!

This year started off so great.  Celebrating with our dearest friends in the world, and an entire weekend filled with lazy days, beautiful weather, sledding, playing on a frozen pond, yummy comfort food, wii games, cuddling on the couch, movie dates, and dinner dates with good friends.  This first weekend of the year set the tone for how I would like to see our year play out.  I am making a pact to myself (and to all of you) that I will take at least 1 day every weekend to do exactly this.  I will break up with my computer, and we will not be on speaking terms for at least one day every week.  I won’t go in my office.  I will spend time with my family.  I recently read a blog post by Justin and Mary Marantz that spoke very loudly to me.  As a business owner, I feel the need to always be working - doing something - making something better.  This article talked about feeling guilty for not ‘doing.’    I am watching my kiddos grow up so incredibly quickly, and I want to be with them.  I feel like the guilt train is running over me from multiple directions.  Work, family, home duties, laundry….  I am a hard worker, and will continue to work hard.  But, I will start to play harder than I have in the past couple of years, and may just spend some days out of my office, and out jumping in mud puddles with my boys!  :)

As I am posting the 8th installment of my Five People Twelve times, I am sitting here making a goal as well that I will blog more.  I really love it, and enjoy looking back - at my life, at events in my clients’ lives, at all of the photos.  It really makes me smile.  Last April I wrote a goal list (101 in 1001) and still haven’t posted it yet.  I read over it the other day and realized that I have accomplished a lot of goals already from it.  And, as it’s January - a big time of the year for setting goals - I am going to post my goal list, and make a goal to blog more often - just because! 

This photo makes me so happy… it’s us on our Friday Night Movie Night!!  A quick shot with our point and shoot camera before we cuddled up to watch Dennis the Menace that our dear friend Dennie let us borrow.  So funny!!   If you haven’t seen it yet, go rent it… your whole family will enjoy it!

xox Niki

Twice as Nice ~ Welcome Raymond and Josef

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing (and snuggling) two adorable little boys today.  Raymond and Josef are just 5 days old and the newest members of one of the sweetest families ever!  Janine and Owen’s 3rd little girl Annika, was the first newborn I had ever photographed.  And now, Raymond and Josef are my first twins. 

Thank you so much Janine and Owen for welcoming me into your home today.  Here’s a little sneak peek for you… Enjoy!

xox Niki 

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five people twelve times //12.10

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The end of December.  The end of the year… what just may be the fastest. year. ever!!  I absolutely can not believe just how fast this year has flown by.  This morning Andy and I were talking about his shoulder surgery, that I thought was last January, and he quickly reminded me it was 2 years ago.  This year has flown.  It’s crazy!  This photo was taken at the end of the month during a week-long stretch of amazing weather.  What a great way to end (and begin) a year!

December brought so many things to our family.  Loose teeth. Lego sets. Neo shifters. Wii games.  Root canals. Trips to Vancouver.  Game night. Checkers. Gift exchanges. Coloured popcorn. Land of Nod buns.  Movie night cuddling together. Rain. Snow. Sun.

The big boys were both fantastic in the Christmas concert.  Sean took part in the “Fanta-sea Christmas” where the sea creatures hoped that Santa would make his first visit to their underwater world at Christmas.  Sean was an octopus, or as he quickly told me, “I’m one of the octopi - with my friends.”  Their costumes were amazing… very colourful and sparkly… oooh, I love sparkly things!  :)  Owen’s class performed “Round the World Christmas” where Santa lost his suit and searched for it around the world - France, Mexico, Bethlehem, and Australia.  At each stop, they talked about Christmas customs and sang a local song.  Owen was an Australian, so his costume was shorts, a t-shirt, sunglasses and a sun hat.  So cute!  I always love going to the Christmas concert every year.  As a teacher, I know just how much work goes into the performances, and as a parent sitting in the audience, I love how I instantly feel the spirit of Christmas when I see the kids up on stage.  Next year will be exciting because all three of our boys will be in the concert, and Andy and I will sit alone in the audience.  But, I can wait for that.  I’m hoping this next year will not go as fast as the last!

We set out on an adventure to get our tree this year.  Hot dogs.  Hot chocolate.  Cold Mommy.  Cute kids.  Awesome Daddy. (that’s just for you Andy!  xox)   Andy taught the boys how to build a fire, we had a wiener roast, we picked the perfect pine tree and had hot chocolate.  The day was perfect!  Andy brought some pop along and the boys all grabbed a can… they drink pop usually only at our ‘Birthday hot dog parties’ - which I will talk about at some point - so they were all thrilled to have their own can of pop.  This photo makes me giggle… Sean looks so excited with his Pepsi in hand.  Later in the day, he came to me and said, “Maybe drinking my own pop wasn’t such a good idea… my tummy hurts!” 

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December was busy, as it always is.  The difference this year was that I wasn’t just ordering and delivering prints and canvases for clients, I was ordering and delivering jewellery too.  All while working to get our Christmas organized, presents wrapped and parcels mailed around Canada.  I really love it though.  I honestly believe I thrive on being busy.  I know one thing for sure though, I am USELESS without a ‘TO DO’ list.  So like Santa, I was making my list(s) and checking them twice. 

Christmas morning was magical.   All of the boys were up early and this year things went much faster than they have in the past.  Usually, we open stockings, then have breakfast, open a few gifts, play for a bit… this year we were done by 8:30.  All done!  We attended our annual Christmas dinner at Grammie Linda and Grampie Jim’s house… we are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives that we love so much.  Spending Christmas day in a house full of people we adore is wonderful.

And, as we have almost every year for the past 15 or so, we rang in the new year with the MacLeods… again, a wonderful way to end, and start a brand new year.  Only 3 kiddies made it to midnight, but those 3 were sweet as can be ‘cheers-ing’ with their ginger ale.  2011 is going to be a fantastic year!

xox Niki