photography by Justin Heylen

There aren’t too many of us in this family.  Michael and I each have one sibling.  My dad is an only child and I have no firsts cousins.  Growing up it was only my brother and I, and after my parents immigrated to Canada there were even less family members to visit with.

For the most part we didn’t really mind.  When I finished grade 8 my family moved into a house with a big back yard, we bought a puppy and the rest is sort of history. Our social circles expanded as we got older and having immediate close family members became less important.

When I met Michael my family grew.  We expanded our family to encompass a new sister.  As she got married our family grew some more.  And now with our new sister in law, Beth, joining our “tribe” we grew even bigger.

Johannes and Magnus don’t have any cousins yet, a point Johannes likes to bring up from time to time when he hears his friends talk about their own family members.  I thought about that long and hard the other day, do we grow our only family even bigger so they have more siblings to grow old with?  Do we buy a dog?  Michael and I haven’t quite reached a decision on what the future will hold for us.  Its for certain that one day we will no longer be here, and our boys will be on their own, hopefully with families of their own to help and support them in times of need.  But for this second, this minute, this hour, they have so much love around them.

Their aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and great-grandparents as well love them so incredibly much, that I do think its enough.  They may not understand it completely, but I know they feel it in their hearts.

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A Wedding

bogdan-and-beth all photos in this post are taken and edited with my iPhone @bluebirdkisses

My little brother got married last weekend with family and love surrounding them, and in the most beautiful little restaurant in Guelph.

My bother and sister in law flew in from Amsterdam to be here so we had quite the special week visiting with them as well.  Both Michael and I each have only one sibling.  We are lucky.  We are very close with each, and in turn their spouses.  I love my two sisters in law as though they were present for all of my life milestones and I know Michael feels the same way about his in return.  If I had one wish it would be that we all lived closer, yearly visits seem almost cruel.

Be it what it may be, on Saturday morning, the day of the wedding), Michael and I, our kids, my sister and brother in law and my little cousin all piled into two cars and rode our way into old Guelph.

The wedding day fell on a hot summer day.  It was small but intimate and the food was incredibly delicious.  My tiny tribe of “men” did their best to be as cute as possible and be on their best behaviour.  But by 8pm Magnus had decided he was ready for bed and loudly made it clear that the only acceptable sleeping arrangements were waiting for us back at the hotel.  So I packed him up and away we went, leaving Johannes and his dad at the restaurant to entertain the crowds and close up shop.

I can’t say any more great things about the day.  With its ups and downs, as life with little children would have it, it was still pretty close to perfect.  And I’m wishing my brother and my new sis in law only the very very best.

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behind the scenes with Poster Child Mag

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When I was in grade 6 I was awkward and learning to transition into teenagehood.  I hadn’t discovered tweezers, I did not know that a Sesame Street teeshirt should not be worn past grade 3!  I remember looking at the little girls in my grade who in my eyes had it all together and daydreamed of a day when I could perhaps model, or have pretty hair.  It sounds so silly now that I’m 32, married and with two little boys around.  But that was me then, so when I met Rebecca Poier, the editor in chief of Poster Child Mag, I was instantly transposed back to that time.  How fun it must be to run a children’s fashion magazine!

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I decided I needed to dig a little bit deeper and get to know Rebecca more, by the way its her birthday this week!  Here is what she had to share with us!

how did you get started with Poster Child Magazine?
The obsession began when I began working for a children’s publication that was based in Toronto They decided to close their doors at the end of 2012 and I just couldn’t let this mini-fashion thing go! I’d just returned from New York Kids Fashion week and I was enthralled and inspired. So, in February of 2013 I began a kids fashion blog! 
what was your inspiration to start the magazine?
I started the magazine as an off-shoot from the blog. I’m very proud that everything we have done as a publication has been reader driven. People asked if we were going to do editorials – so we started doing them. Readers asked about a holiday style guide – we started producing a online guide. Fans inquired about purchasing the guide in print – we made the leap to a print format. 
walk us through what a typical shoot would entail?
As a publication we are focused on featuring creative contributions from like-minded photographers and their creative teams. But, we do like to put together at least 1 styled editorial for the magazine ourselves with our photographer Mai Tilson. I do quite a bit of prep before hand to ensure our shoot dates play out smoothly. Several weeks in advance I’ll order all the samples and try to pull together the concept using designer look books. Then, as the pieces come in I’ll start preliminary styling and placing together all the looks. So, on the day of we can jump right in!
We usually start our shoot day with big coffees and a little chat with our models and their parents. The vibes at our shoot are SUPER laid back; we always mingle and get everyone comfortable. Then kiddos head to hair and makeup – these folks are SO good with the kids and are big help making them feel at ease on set. We’ll crank up the music, usually we take requests (yes – I have the frozen sound track) and we’ll get dancing. You’ll often find me just outside of the frame dancing along and posing with the kids – I’m sure Mai has to crop me out fairly often.
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is it as fun working with children on these features as I imagine it to be?
IT IS! We work with the best kids. I don’t know how we’ve been so lucky, but even our last second, replacement models have been the coolest. Of course, working with children has challenges – you won’t see an adult model break down in tears on set – but overall we have a ton of fun! 
what is the funniest thing that ever happened on a photo shoot?
 Oh man, we laugh a lot! The shoot for the cover of the Summer 2015 issue of Poster Child Magazine was shot at our local farmers market. The kids had so much fun playing at the market and there were just a ton of funny moments! One in particular was trying to get a photo of our little boy model Tyson handing a flower to our little girl model Felicity. The absolute awkwardness of these two kids – they were TOO cute and so funny!
five years from now, where do you see Poster Child Magazine?
We are super excited to be entering major retailers in the US this fall and soon Canada too! We hope that in the next 5 years (hopefully sooner) you’ll see Poster Child on the shelves of Chapters & Indigo and developing our readership in Europe. 

The Poster Child Mag behind the scenes shoot is even cuter in video form!  All the photos in this post were behind the scenes shots taken during their cover shoot, and if you would like your own personal copy of the mag, you can do so here by entering code SUMMER2015 !

Thanks Rebecca for sharing with us!



Photography by One Photography Studio

sakura bloom sling diaries: health


Its no secret that we’ve had our share of health worries.  For almost half of his life Johannes has suffered from horrible debilitating fevers.  They would come in waves, accompanied by frequent vomiting, joint pain, crying, headaches.  I’ve documented it at length in the past here and here and here, and dozen more posts since I started writing and before we knew the beast that we were dealing with.

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With a diagnosis came a treatment method, a surgery and now, some relief!  Last month we went on our first family vacation that wasn’t overshadowed by sickness and worry.  We went to the lake as a family of four, healthy, happy, excited.

Johannes is gaining weight again, he looks healthy.  His dark under-eye circles have disappeared.  His ribs are no longer protruding out of his tiny abdomen.  He is asking for food again and finishing his lunches at summer camp.

As a mother, HIS mother, I am happy and for the most part relieved that we have a break even if its not a total cure for his disease.  However I often find myself waiting for that other shoe to drop.  I’m waiting for a regression, watching his face ever morning for any signs of fatigue.


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I’m waiting for the fevers to return, and worse, I’m looking at Magnus with different eyes, to see if perhaps his fate will be similar to that of his older brother.

Sickness, big or small, frequent or infrequent, is all consuming for a parent.  It takes over our thoughts and dreams, our minutes and our conversations.  I will never take the healthy days for granted.  I will never go on a vacation again without a slight knot in my throat.  My perspective is much different, and I try my very best to enjoy the healthy days and hold my children tight not only in sickness but also in health.

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This is my third entry for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries vol VI.  You can read my other posts here. // In this post I’m wearing the Chambray Linen Baby Sling in Black Currant.


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Magnus’ baptism took place last Sunday.  With our family by our side, and our good friends baptizing their little boy along side us, we had one of the best days we’ve had, hands down, this whole summer.  A family baptism followed by a back yard BBQ, cocktails and pastries, what’s not to love.

The day wasn’t without its hiccups though.  Michael and I had understood that the baptism would take place at 2pm, so we marched our family members and a very tired, nap-skipped, Magnus to the Church for 1:45pm.  Panic set in as 2pm approached without a sign of the Priest.  Sheer terror took a hold of me for several minutes while I waited on the line with the Rectory to try and understand what was happening.  Flashbacks of our chosen God Parents having flown in from Amsterdam for this event only to have to miss it, danced around my head.  Thankfully it was 2:30pm that we were scheduled to be there and our mistake was rectified.

Magnus Valentin Klizs, reborn and in only the greatest of companies.

zucchini noodles with pistacho garlic scape pesto

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After years of looking, wondering, searching, I finally found and bought a spiralizer! I don’t know exactly how I managed to go all this time without one, but alas its all done with and our garden zucchinis are now being put to good use.  Let me tell you, zucchini noodles are AMAZING. So so good.

We received a bunch of garlic scapes from our neighbour’s garden and wanted to make pesto out of it to mix with the zoodles (zucchini noodles?? zoodles? it works).  I sauteed some  shrimp with onions and chilli flakes et voila, instantly delicious dinner, and healthy to boot!

Here’s how I made the pesto as the rest of the sauteeing and tossing is pretty self explanatory.

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ingredients for pesto (need a food processor)

– 10 garlic scapes

– 1/3 cup roasted pistachios (shelled)

– 1/3 cup grated parmesan

– 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

– handfull of fresh basil

– salt and pepper

Mix all the in a food processor until well incorporated.

Toss zucchini noodles in a hot pan with 4-6 large table spoons of pesto, no more than 1-2 minutes!  Top with spicy sauteed or grilled shrimp, grated parmesan and a dalop of the pesto!