We went to Chicago for my 30th. We had been wanting to visit this city for a while now and it’s really not that far from us at all so we booked a hotel, packed up the car and made a weekend out of it! Everyone thought we were a little crazy to take the twins with us but I wouldn’t have wanted it any differently. They get so excited for birthday’s and had known mine was coming up for a while now so I had to have them there celebrating with me. It was such a memorable weekend for all of us and I absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous city.


We arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon on the Friday and we knew we’d be eating deep dish pizza for supper that evening, so we made our first stop Garret’s for a snack to tie us over. (If you’ve never tried Garret’s popcorn, you’ve never actually had popcorn people haha) I ordered the jumbo size thinking we’d finish it between the four of us but we barely got through a quarter of the bag! That stuff is GOOD but so greasy and heavy. Two handfuls and you’re stuffed. So that jumbo bag lasted us alllll weekend long. We were still snacking on it on the ride home.


Since the twins had been sitting in the car for 5 hours that day, we made our next stop the park! This playground in Chicago isn’t just like any old playground. It’s huge and goes on forever and there are different sections for different age groups. The boys had a blast and it was good to get them active for a while. Definitely a must-do if you’re visiting the city with your kids.



The park was pretty close to the bean so we headed there after. We had talked about the bean before heading to Chicago so the twins were excited to finally see it. They were obsessed with their reflections. img_5652


After deep dish pizza at Giordano’s that evening, we were completely zonked. We called it a pretty early night at the hotel.

The next morning, we started with coffee at Dollop. It was delicious and such a fun little spot. We then had breakfast at Yolk before we headed to Navy Pier. img_5529img_5631

The twins are more on the cautious side when it comes to rides and such so we didn’t know if they’d be up for riding the big ferris wheel. But to our surprise, they LOVED it. It was likely because we were all together in the cart but it was such a fun thing to do together.



From way up high….img_5651


They loved searching for rocks and leaves to throw over the pier. img_5627


This was the view from the pier. It was such a gorgeous walk and I forgot to mention what AMAZING weather we had while we were. It was the last weekend in October and everyone was wearing t-shirts and shorts. It was perfect for all the walking we had to do. But back to the pier, it was such a fun spot! There were some great restaurants with fun patios and food trucks along the way.  img_5626

Skyler was upset later when he saw this picture and realized he didn’t get to be the big hairy spider. bahaha!


Just as we got all the way around the pier, the twins both fell asleep which worked out perfectly. We headed towards Stan’s donut’s where we let them nap as we rested ourselves on the patio and grabbed some iced coffee for a pick-me-up. Everything in Chicago is walking distance but it’s A LOT of walking! It was shortly after, I realized I lost my favourite cardigan and realized it must have been back at the pier. I was sadly ready to let it go as I had little hope that we would actually find it but Ron insisted we go back for it. (awesome husband he is…but I know it’s because he knew I would have whined about it later and regretted not going back.)  Sooooo back to the pier we went, birthday donuts in hand for when the twins woke up from their nap. By some miracle, after A LOT more walking, we found my cardigan draped over a fence. Thank goodness. The twins woke up by that time and the donuts were a fun treat for them to wake up to. They sang happy birthday to me and I just remember taking in that special moment, feeling so thankful for all I’ve been blessed with. The donuts were delicious.


That evening we did supper at this amazing family style Italian restaurant that was recommended to us. (my fav!!) Real homemade pasta with giant meatballs and bruschetta.  So good.


We never stayed out very late in the evenings but I got this night shot on our way back to the hotel.


The next morning before we headed home, we hit up Heritage Bicycles. It has the cutest coffee adjoining coffee shop and it was the perfect little breakfast stop before we hit the road. img_5646img_5620img_5618


Chicago is a fabulous city.  There were some things we didn’t get to see in the short time we were there that we would have loved to but that just means we have to go back! We would go back tomorrow if we could!


Thanks so much for reading! xo


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A Season of Slowing.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 

So good. There’s a season for everything.  For growing and learning, for hustling but also… for slowing. Right now, I’m slowing. And it’s a challenge for me you guys. A really big challenge. I am such a busy body. My mind literally never stops and my husband does not understand why I find it so so difficult to sit down and rest. Poor guy. He works a 40 hour work week and he wants to spend his down time having down time…relaxing with a cold brew watching football or hockey or just sitting in the backyard. I, on the other hand want to plan out what house project we’re going to tackle next, talk about what we’re going to do on our next free Saturday and brainstorm new business ideas together. Any entrepreneurial spirited friends out there relate?!?!

For those of you who are new to following, I’ll give you a little background on my story…I’m a teacher. Ron and I did our undergrads together at Western University before we got married and then I did teachers college the following year. While I was waiting to get on the supply list, I began to pursue photography, something I had been doing as a hobby for a while. After second shooting a season of weddings with a friend and begging my best friends to model for me, I began to book my first portrait sessions and then a wedding and it wasn’t long before I had a business up and running. I fell in love with working for myself. I loved the flexibility with my schedule and hours. I was the one who decided when I wanted to work and when I didn’t. We were talking about starting a family soon and I knew I wanted to be at home with my babes in their early years so this was perfect. My business was growing and I was setting myself up to do just that.  I was soon able to quit my part time job and focus solely on my business.


Photography has been perfect for this season in my life. It’s allowed me to be at home with my boys during the day when my husband works. We shoot weddings on Saturdays together during the spring-fall but we currently limit our bookings so we still have plenty of weekends to do fun family things during the warmer seasons. It truly has turned into a dream job for me.

But going back to my non-stop busy body self. There’s a lot of downtime with photography. I don’t shoot for most of the winter and other then editing, there’s not a lot of extra work to do when I’m not shooting. So once my boys got to a stage when they weren’t as needy and were able to entertain each other for longer periods of time, I began to itch again for a new creative outlet. Over the past 2 years, I have done a handful of other side gigs along with photography. From writing a mom blog with my best friend, to online fitness coaching, to teaching courses at our church and beginning to work on a podcast project with my husband…I’ve been hustling constantly. Obsessively chasing after my goals and not stopping until they’re reached (the dangerous side of a driven entrepreneur).

But then wait, my goal in being a work-from-home mom in the first place was so that I could watch my kids grow up. So I could work less and spend more time being a part of every new milestone, every new chapter, every fun new season of their lives. I long for my number one goal to be raising a family and I do not want to lose sight of this without realizing it while I’m hustling too hard at other things. I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been filling too much of any “free time” I’ve had with new projects, new goals, new dreams for the future. I truly didn’t (and still don’t) know how to just be. 

I don’t regret any of the past projects I’ve worked on as each experience has shaped me and grown me. I have learned so so so much about myself, about working along side others, about being a leader,  about the importance of personal development and I could keep going on. My most recent endeavour of fitness coaching helped our family to really get on track with a healthy, active lifestyle, something that has improved our quality of life in so many ways. It kept me accountable for 9  months which has really helped to solidify those new habits. But the crazy thing is that when I was telling my husband that I was feeling this chapter of coaching may be coming to an end for the time being, he said “oh so what will you be filling that extra time with now?”  That’s what got me.  He expected me to dive right into something new because thats what I always do. That is what my family and friends think of me. They know full well that I don’t know how to slow down. That I always have to be working towards something new and I don’t stop until it’s done.

I mentioned in my last post about minimalizing, that it included our calendar. So while my mind is currently exploding with new ideas and dreams, (HA) I am committing to press the pause button and just “be” for the next 5 months. To not fill all my time with working when I don’t have to, but to have more time to say yes to spontaneous hangouts with friends and family, to have more un-planned Saturday’s where we can wake up and decide hour by hour what we’ll do next. To really pray and seek the Lord’s direction for our family and for any future business endeavours. To read and learn and grow and read some more.

They’re will be more seasons of hustling I know.  More seasons to go hard with goals and chase after dreams. But for right now, I’m putting those dreams on hold and committing to a season of slowing down and learning to “be”.  Hold me accountable will ya?

Thanks for reading.

xo Natalie

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I hadn’t left the twins for more then one night before. But back in June, I was really missing my family. We were packing and getting ready to go on our own family vacation to Boston/Cape Cod and I mentioned to my husband that perhaps I should someday take a 3-4 day trip out to BC to see my brothers as it would have been crazy expensive to fly all of us out there right now. (flights from Ontario to BC are insane!!!) I was thinking sometime in the fall or winter but he responded with “sure book a flight and go this summer”.  This summer. I didn’t think I could mentally prepare to be away from the twins for that long but he was telling me to go and that everything would be fine so after checking dates with my brothers,  I literally jumped online and bought my tickets that night without thinking twice. Gah! I panicked a little the next few days. This was a big step for a mama. But I did it and I’m SO glad I did. It was everything I needed and I came back feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood then ever before.

The trip was short but sweet. We restaurant/coffee shop hopped and spent a lot of time being active outdoors together.

Sam and Jo

My brother Sam and his wife Joryli met me at the airport the morning I arrived and our first stop was Revolver for coffee. We caught up over our iced drinks and then we spent the afternoon biking the sea wall. It felt so good to be active after 5 hours on a plane.biking

The next day we went hiking and it was glorious. The climate in Vancouver during the summer (when it’s not raining) is just perfect. Cool mornings and evenings and mid-day is just comfortably warm.   unnamed (2)

unnamed (4)unnamed (1)coffee shopsshop

I spent my third day there with my younger brother Josh and his sweet girlfriend Rebecca. They took me to their favourite shopping spots in downtown Vancouver and I learned a lot from Bekah’s skillful thrifting ways when shopping at consignment stores!  She’s a fashion queen. unnamed (3)unnamed (5)We stopped in at the Treasures and Travels studio that afternoon and it was great to finally meet Lindsay after following her blog for so long. She’s just as sweet in real life as she is online! Love that.


3 coffees

In all, it was such a great trip. We ate at Phenom Penh in China Town the night before we left and it was incredible! Good food, good company, so many memories tucked away until the next time I get to see them all again. Love this gang. Wish we weren’t separated by miles for most of the year. BUT it just makes the time spent together that much more special.

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Boston/Cape Cod

This was our first time travelling outside of Canada with the twins. We knew we wanted to hit up a beach in the U.S. but right up until 2 weeks before our trip we weren’t sure where and had nothing booked! Finally one night, we just went for it and used Air B&B to book a quaint little cottage in Cape Cod, MA for four nights. Since we had the full week for holidays, we decided to be adventurous and just grab a hotel in whatever city we ended up in for a night on the way there and a night on the way back. It worked out great! The first day, we drove for 9 hours with a couple stops along the way for food and play. I planned a full days worth of car activities for the twins and will be sharing that in another post this week! We stayed an hour outside of Boston that night. I was so thankful the hotel had an amazing gym and sauna after being crammed in a car for so long! The next morning, the twins were up bright and early and after grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we headed into Boston to explore the city for the day! After grabbing lattes at Cafe Paradiso in Little Italy, we had maybe been walking around for half hour when I decided I was IN LOVE with this city. Just a great feel. The people were friendly and the streets and buildings had so much character. The Boston Market was amazing and the harbour front was just stunning.


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untitled-45We grabbed lunch at Legal Seafoods near the harbour. It was recommended to us by numerous friends that had been to Boston so we knew we had to try it and gosh it did NOT disappoint! We split a seafood sampler ( I know SO much food!) and a risotto roll. It was to die for. Every time we look at this photo, we can taste the meal again. If you go to Boston, eat at Legal Seafoods!




We headed to the cottage we were renting later that afternoon and after a quick grocery shop and checking out the private beach, we called it an early night. Most of the rest of the week was spent at the beach and touring the quaint town of Brewster. There was so many cute boutiques, antique shops and the sweetest little old-fashioned general store. The boys got a kick out of all the penny candy to look at there!


One day we drove into Province Town for the afternoon which is the furthest part of the cape. It was beautiful, so colorful and very happening!  The main street, parallel to the ocean, went on FOREVER! There were so many shops and restaurants to choose from. We had heard that the lobster rolls at Canteen were amazing so we opted to eat there and again we were thrilled with our choice! The rolls were delicious and we shared a fish taco too!




untitled-78-2Ok we totally splurged and bought a piece of fudge to split from this award winning fudge shop on the strip.

untitled-94-2untitled-121The twins LOVED the ocean. We weren’t sure how they would do with the beach as last year they were still a little unsure of the waves and such but we put life jackets on them and they wanted to swim and kick on their bellies. The high tide and low tide of the ocean was so cool because in the mornings, we could walk out on the beach for forever and the twins would just splash in the small streams and puddles while collecting sea shells, rocks and building sand towers. In the evenings, the water was 4 feet deep right at the start so we would all go in and swim together.




Other then my husband dropping our cottage keys down a storm sewer on the first day we arrived, and a couple normal toddler meltdowns, I’d say the trip was a pretty big success! It gave us the confidence to travel MORE with the kids, something we both love to do.

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The Twins Birth Story

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We couldn’t believe the day was finally here. On Friday night as we lay in bed snuggling close, I had that butterfly feeling. Part of me felt a like I used to feel the day before a big exam in university. Anxious, nervous, wondering if I was ready. But a bigger part of me felt like I did the night before Christmas. So excited, so much anticipation, joy, happiness. I couldn’t wait to meet them, to see what they looked like, to hold them and kiss them. I got up so early that morning and made myself eat some toast and orange juice. I was being induced and we were to expect a call anytime between 6:30 am and midnight to go the hospital and begin the process. It was difficult not knowing when the call would come.  We tried to keep busy. We ran a few errands and dropped off Marley at a friends house. I got the same stares and comments I had been getting for the past month, only this time when I was asked when I was due, I could smile and say ‘TODAY!”. Was such a surreal feeling but the more I said it, the more real it felt. After grabbing a light lunch, we headed home and put on a movie to keep ourselves distracted. We were about 20 minutes through it when the call came. I think my hands shook a little as I picked it up. I knew from the private number display that it had to be the hospital. The nurse said “well, are you ready to come have those babies?” This was really happening. I said YES and we packed some last minute items before getting into the car and heading across the city towards the hospital.

After checking in, we sat in the waiting room for a while and then were escorted to a big, bright private room where the nurse asked me to put on my hospital gown and get comfy on the bed. I was hooked up to monitors that were strapped to my belly. One for each of the babies and one to monitor my contractions. They started by putting me on an oxitocin drip to get things going and a few hours later, one of the residents came in and broke my water. I tried to remain calm and comfortable and the nurses kept saying they couldn’t believe how relaxed I seemed.  My contractions started to show up pretty regular on the monitor but I didn’t have any pain for about the first five hours.  Around supper time, I suddenly wished I had eaten more that morning. I was starving! I was only permitted to have fluids, or jell-o or popsicles which thankfully tied me over for now.  Around 10:00 p.m. I started to feel my contractions quite strongly all of a sudden. The nurse told me that was great and she said that when my pain level got past a 5 out of 10, it should probably get the epidural. That didn’t take long and I was so thankful for the relief after it began to kick in.  The nurses predicted I would likely go pretty slowly this was my first time giving birth and the average rate  for dialation is about half a cm per hour and I was measuring  about 4 at that time.  Ron went to tell my parents who were waiting out in the waiting room to head over to our place and get some rest for a while as it would likely be a while. The next couple hours went by pretty quickly as the epidural allowed me take naps during contractions. Ron stayed by my side the entire time and tried to get a little rest on the cot beside my bed but he said he was too excited and anxious to sleep. The resident came back to check me at about midnight and I was a good 8 cm dilated. I couldn’t believe how fast that went! One hour later I was completely dilated and they told me I was ready to start pushing. Ron called my parents to come back as we figured our boys would be born in the next hour or so.

They wheeled my bed over to the OR as this is protocol for multiple births in case of emergency surgery for one of the babies.  With the way things had progressed over the past 3 hours, we expected the next events to happen A LOT faster then they did. But instead, I pushed for a long hard 4 hours with only slight progression. Those babies were just too darn comfortable in my belly! The only thing that kept me going was the encouragement from my nurses and midwives and having Ron at my bedside cheering me on, while holding my hand and feeding me ice chips. I found myself napping on and off between contractions and at around 5:00, they suggested I take a good rest. When I got up close to 6, I still felt like I had just run two marathons and had no strength left to take another step.  I gave it another go but I did not have much left in me. Our OB came down to discuss our options. There were two. A c-section or delivering the babies with the help of forceps. I cried a little as I didn’t think I was in the right state of mind to make an informed decision. I didn’t want to give in to a c-section after all I’d been through in the past hours but I also didn’t want  my little babes to be harmed in anyway through the optional procedure. After a lot of reassuring and with everything I had left in me, we went with the second option, the forceps. Less then an hour later, Skyler Kenneth and Bryson Michael were born at 7:01 and 7:26 am on September 22nd, the first day of fall. As I heard their little cries and saw them for the first time, I couldn’t believe that they were mine. It was a very long and difficult night but worth every moment when we got to see and hold and kiss our little babies. They were perfect. So perfect.  After family and visitors had come and gone later that night, I looked at our boys and cried and cried. I couldn’t believe that we had been blessed with this most precious gift.

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We went into the hospital the day before with no expectations of what was to come in the following hours. We had prepared ourselves for the unexpected we knew about the possible complications that could arise with a twin birth. All we had hoped and prayed for was the safety and health of our precious baby boys as they entered the world. We thank the Lord for answering our prayers.

We stayed in the hospital for two nights as I had lost a lot of blood during delivery and they wanted to make sure I was stable before we went home. When we left the hospital with our two precious bundles in our arms, it didn’t feel real. Today, they are almost two weeks old and it still sometimes doesn’t feel real. We often just stare at them together in awe and wonder, wondering how our hearts could be so much more full then we ever thought they could be. There are definitely challenging moments. Moments when we wonder how we’ll get through the day. But life with our beautiful baby boys is still more wonderful then we ever imagined it being. We are blessed.

Thanks for reading our story. Check back for more updates as the twins grow!

Photos by Raw Footage Photography. 

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