How happiness spreads: spending a snippet of time with Irit, Mike, and Leo.

“Kindness is everything” -   Irit (mom pictured above)

“Kindness is everything” - Irit (mom pictured above)

When I first connected with Irit, it was winter. Although I encourage people not to mind the weather, I think for this family, it was best to wait until warmer days.

Over time, Irit and I chatted about photography ideas. She wanted to have some candid moments captured of their busy life in Ottawa.

A little before our photo-session, I sent out their FUN & SHORT family questionnaire. (I promise all families it’s fun & it’s short, and so far i’ve had zero complaints!)

Irit was one of the first families I tried this new questionnaire with, and was really excited when I read her answers. It gave me a glimpse into their family, and made me even more excited to meet them.

For instance, Irit means flower, and funny enough, she wanted to be a flower growing up. <3

She gushed about her sweet son, and once I met them, I immediately saw why. He is sweet, curious, joyful, cute as a button, and full of contagious energy.

She also gave me the following words to live by:

Kindness is everything. Be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even—or rather, especially—when we'd prefer not to be.

Hearing this made me feel so comfortable with her, before we’d ever met face-to-face. <3

I woke up early that morning, and set off around 6am from Kingston. (I listened to podcasts all the way there, which I LOVE about traveling via car).

I parked in the underground parking next to Whole Foods, and ordered a cappuccino (as you do) at the Whole Foods Cafe. Unfortunately, it took so long to prepare (the poor barista was all alone and facing a sudden and unexpected Saturday morning rush) that I had to throw it out as soon as I got it, because our session was about to begin!!

But once Irit, Mike, and Leo arrived, I forgot all about needing a caffeine boost.

I loved running around Landsdowne Park with them (near the Glebe, in Ottawa), watching Leo splash in puddles, climb things, throw stick in the water, and eat ice-cream.

(The ice-cream situation got a bit hairy at one point, because he wanted it ALL, and there was really a LOT of ice-cream for one small tummy. Dad had to pretend it was gone, but Leo caught on. Eventually, we had to throw the rest of the ice-cream out, delicious as it was!)

Leo is at the age where EVERYTHING is new and a source of intrigue. It made me think back to parenting in those days. TIRING. Haha. Irit and Mike had so much energy and love and patience. I think it’s because my kids are now older, that I find it incredible and inspiring how much of themselves parents give when their kids are this age.

Maybe I didn’t appreciate that about myself.

I KNOW many of the families I photograph don’t, either. This is why it brings a smile to my face to capture some of the evidence for them.

Just how much running around, lifting, smiling, kissing, hugging, tickling, etc, goes on in parenting a toddler can ASTOUND you.

And when you see yourself in the spotlight, doing all of it, you certainly learn to love yourself a little more.

At least that is my hope.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow I created below: