Sep 3 2014

becoming outmoded.

(Above: Dave dressed up as “Outmoded Technology Man” at a Superheroes and their Alter Egos party we went to a few years ago)

Dave and I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology/media. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people, especially those who have to work with it on a daily basis.  When we were first married we did (what some considered) a crazy thing and never bought a TV.  Keep in mind, this was almost 10 years ago– far before Netflix, and when YouTube barely even had cat videos on it.  The idea of even owning digital versions of movies or TV shows was just barely starting to become a thing.  People would say everything from “Wow, I wish I could do something like that”, to “What are you going to do all day?”  Well, somehow, 9.5 years later we are still alive, we still have no TV (although we do have a Netflix subscription, but it’s used mainly for our regular evening Star Trek episode) and we have generally entertained ourselves pretty well I think.  Lately though–and this could be because I’m now a stay at home mom–I’ve found the internet/iPhone is eating my time up.  Facebook stays on a tab on the computer and gets refreshed often, and when I have a spare moment (when Dave and I are driving and I’m bored) I’m checking instagram on my phone.  And it’s become exhausting.

Here’s the thing:

I don’t think humans were meant for this kind of overload of information/constant stream of conversation.

As an introvert I especially find myself overwhelmed by the end of the day if I had spent too much time on Facebook.  There’s no time for my own quiet thoughts when I’m scrolling through everyone else’s.

I’m tired of a thousand articles being shared telling me that everything that I’m eating is wrong.  Do I feed my child formula?  You bet.  Do I eat food that contains gluten in it?  I do.  I’m also tired of all the facebook debates over politics/religion/whatever-the-heck that don’t actually serve any purpose.  Because, for real people, do facebook debates make anyone ever feel good?  Have you ever walked away from a facebook debate going “Wow, that internet stranger really changed my mind on that subject.  I feel so good that we had that debate.”  I’m not saying debating is bad, but I feel like most of the time internet debates get bad fast and no one wins.  Because it’s easy to say something nasty on the internet when you are safe behind your computer, but it’s not so easy to go out and do something about it.  Every day on the web we are inundated with a crap-load of opinions and voices.  I’m not sure how our brains haven’t exploded already.

I see how damaging and addictive technology can be and it’s starting to loose it’s lustre.  I used to say that I neither liked nor disliked Facebook, because for all it’s flaws I could see how valuable it was for keeping in touch with friends and family from far away.  I saw that for a small business it had huge potential for advertising, especially as a photographer.  The tool can’t be evil–it’s how you use the tool, right?  But the problem with Facebook is that even if I’m using it just to keep up with friends and family, there’s still 300 other people on my friends list that might decide that the best way to use Facebook is to share Fox New clips. (No thank-you).  Also…I don’t really want to see what everyone is commenting on.  Unless a friend of mine shares it with me, why do I want to see their other conversations?

Most of all, I’m concerned over how this will affect Lucy as she grows up.  If she sees that her dad and I are dependant on all our devices, she will assume that it’s only natural.  I’d rather wean ourselves off of being so dependant on technology while she is young so that we never have to say “Put that phone away and spend some time with real people!” while at the same time we are itching to get on our phones.

So I have decided to start a technology wean.  Dave and I have already been talking about getting rid of our smart-phones when our contract is up.  In the meantime (so it won’t be such a shock) I’ve installed an app called “moment” that counts the minutes that I use the phone and when I reach a certain number (30 minutes, for example) it tells me my time is up for the day and sends me constant reminders to put my phone down.  I also cleaned up my facebook newsfeed to a small amount of family/friends.  Also, because I have a few ongoing projects that are shared on Facebook (project 52, for example) I plan on using it till the new year, and then I hope to only use it for business purposes.  Another program that is useful is called “Self Control” where you can either “blacklist” a list of websites you don’t want to see for a set time, or “whitelist” a list of websites that will be the only available sites.  You can set the time limit, and that’s it.  It is a pretty crazy program though–even restarting your computer won’t shut it down!

I’m looking forward to reseting and using technology as a tool instead of a crutch and I encourage you to do the same.


Aug 1 2014

july in review

I don’t know how it’s August already…but holy moly!  July went by fast.  I feel we didn’t do anything, but we were also really busy…if that makes sense.  I think summers are just like that.

We started off with Canada Day, relaxing in our new little splash pool with Lucy.  It was insanely hot and humid and we were so glad to have that pool!

Our neighbour randomly gave us a melodion, which is a push button accordion.  I’ve been looking to take lessons on it soon.  I’ve always wanted to play the accordion but I’ll gladly accept a free melodion!

I photographed my last wedding…possibly ever?  I wrote about my decision to get out of the wedding industry here.   It was SO hot that day, and the reception was in a greenhouse.  I’ve never been that hot doing a wedding before!

Lucy had her first taste of a pickle.  I suppose for most people this is not a blog-worthy event, but those with Mennonite heritage will understand.  Pickles are their own special food group.

Speaking of food…we’ve still had a heck of a time feeding this one.  I recently bought some of those little puffed snacks and she has actually been eating them!  She also shoved a huge piece of cheese in her mouth a few days ago (we give her bigger pieces so she won’t choke…but when she shoves it ALL in her mouth at one time, that’s problematic!) So maybe…progress?  The picture below is from when I made her a blueberry smoothie…and she spat it out every time she took a sip.

We’ve spent over half our time at my parents house in the last few weeks.  My brother and his family are here from out of town (leaving tomorrow :( ) and so it’s been a giant family gathering this month.  Today is one of the first times we’ve been home for afternoon nap in a while and Lucy has been sleeping for 3 hours!

Lucy has gotten really good at using anything to pull herself up to stand.  My leg is her favourite.  Consequently, if I try walking away or sitting her down when she pulls herself up, this is the face I get.

…remember what I said about the dog food + water?

We finally took Lucy to the park and put her in one of the swings.  She LOVED it so much!  She laughed the whole time.  I love how she is so adventurous!  I pushed her quite high, and the higher she went the more she laughed.

On Monday I will be reviewing some shoes that I got in the mail this week.  It’s a baby shoe making kit, from a company called “First Baby Shoes”.  They are super cute!

 And last but not least…just because she’s finally started dancing: here’s Lucy head banging to the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby.  She gets a little too enthusiastic at the end though…

Dancing Lucy from Courteney Rodda on Vimeo.


Jul 15 2014

a new season

On Saturday, I photographed my last wedding of the season.

No, not just of the wedding season, but for this season of my  life.

It’s been something I’ve been wrestling with for quite a bit since Lucy has been born.  Last fall when I was getting all my inquiries, I was also spending 99% of my time beside a hospital bed with my daughter.  To say I was distracted and uninterested in furthering my business was an understatement.  I did my best to respond to potential 2014 clients but in the end I only booked a meagre 3 weddings.  I never advertised, my page sat un-updated for quite a while, and I often was late in responding to inquiries.  I told Dave that I was done with the stress of the wedding industry and trying to compete in such a flooded market but he encouraged me to at least wait it out one season with Lucy to see how I could handle it.

In the end I decided it wasn’t fair to either my clients, or to Lucy to be doing both.  I feel like wedding photography is in a category of crazy that is so different from any other genre of photography.  People plan for two years ahead for a one day event, and it’s my job to make sure it looks like the most perfect day that ever happened.  No pressure, right?  I used to be able to deal with it, but since Lucy’s birth I found myself constantly anxious about things like “how will Lucy be the day of the wedding with someone else?” (she doesn’t eat for anyone but me generally), or “how the heck am I supposed to edit a cohesive wedding story if I can’t sit down at the computer for longer than an hour at a time?” (she doesn’t nap well…at all).

It’s been a difficult decision because I love being a wedding photographer.  I love capturing such an important day for people and telling their stories, and it’s always an honour to be trusted with such an important role.

I am not planning on closing my business though.  I have a vision for a style of more candid family photography in and around clients homes that I’m hoping to launch in fall.  I’ve always had the package for this on my website, but with no examples to go by it hasn’t been something that people have been able to see my vision.  This summer I will be working on getting that figured out.

I’m feeling very relaxed about this decision to bow out of the wedding industry.  I can’t wait to explore some new avenues of my photography business in the future.


Jul 2 2014

june in review.

I’ve come to discover (or maybe I’ve always known) that I am basically incapable of being consistent with blogging.  I really do love it, but I tend to forget that it exists and all of a sudden I realize I haven’t done anything except the weekly project 52 for a long time.  I won’t promise that will change.  But–I did put it in my calendar to do a monthly review at the end of each month (which…I’m late on…haha) and I do have some things I’d love to do but you know how it is.  Life happens.

So here’s June.  Mostly in iPhone pics.  I can’t believe it’s over!  Where the heck did it go??

(above: We had to lower the crib because this started happening.  She is SO determined!)

I don’t know how Lucy has gotten away with only getting swatted at ONCE by this cat.  Seriously…

We’ve been trying to get out of the house more on family outings.  We went to Fort Langley at the beginning of June and it was lovely!

She started sleeping on her stomach.  Scared the heebie jeebies out of me when it first happened (above) because she was asleep for over two hours which NEVER happens.  Now she has been sleeping so much better.

We started baby led weaning with Lucy.  She’s still not terribly interested, but for all her issues with food we think this is the safest way to introduce food to her without her hating it.  It’s a very slow process.

Our bedroom makeover (which started last summer long before Lucy was born) is 98% complete!  It only took a year…

This is his new spot to sleep.  We’ve been concerned about his health lately and the fact that he may not have as long of a life as we would like.  He just turned 9 this month.  Who knows, maybe we’ll get 9 more years…and he will just be a grumpy old man.

I’ve been sewing a lot more again.  I made this skirt one afternoon, and it’s a great piece for all year round.  But now my sewing machine has bit the dust…(well, it probably just needs to be serviced) so I’ve got to wait to finish all my projects.

I found a really exciting chair on craigslist for $20.  It needs love, but we’re good at that.  All the wood is getting sanded down and refinished, and I’m redoing the upholstery (to fix a terrible reupholster that probably happened in the 80′s).
Dave and I celebrated our 9th anniversary in June!  Crazy!  We went to see Bobby McFerrin at Orpheum during the Vancouver jazz festival.  My mind was officially blown.  Such an incredible concert (and makes me feel like I need to seriously brush up on my scatting).
Hope everyone had a fabulous June!  I’m looking forward to the warm weather in July, as well as a visit from my brother and his family from Montreal!


May 3 2014


We used to be travel snobs.  Dave and I both loved the idea of vacationing for excitement and education.  Visiting a place that was interesting was far higher on our list than a tropical climate and a pool. When people would say “Yay!  We are going to Mexico on our vacation!” we would go “Oh. Nice.” (and raise our well travelled noses up in the air).  The thought of going somewhere just to do nothing sounded pointless.  Why not just crank the heat in your house, put on a bathing suit and lay in your bathtub if that’s all you want?

I don’t know exactly when my perspective changed on vacation.  At some point last year when we were thinking about our baby-moon vacation we both thought the best idea would be to go somewhere where we wouldn’t have to think much about anything.  The prospect of being parents was tiring.  And then we became parents…and tiring went to a whole new level.

The other day I was looking through a friends travel pictures from their time at an all inclusive resort and I felt an overwhelming sense of “I NEED THAT RIGHT NOW.”  I said to Dave “What is this all about?  I never had any desire to spend time at an all inclusive resort.  I’ve never wanted that kind of vacation, and now it’s all I can think about.”  To which he responded “It’s probably the first time in your life that you actually need that kind of vacation.”

 When I was looking through the pictures that I wanted to include in this post, I’ll admit I felt a little jealous (a lot?) of my old self.  It didn’t help that Lucy was laying next to me screaming…(teething…seriously guys.) I have to keep reminding myself that there are seasons for everything.  Our season right now is sedentary/survival child-rearing.  We will likely be more mobile in the summer (once Lucy is more mobile) and then it will change to non-stop/survival child-rearing.  Maybe “survival mode” will even transition to “relaxed and confident”.  And maybe one day we’ll get to experience adventure again, but for now we’ll just have to find joy cranking the heat and sitting in the bath tub with our bathing suits on.

Different seasons.

Below: A trip down memory lane…because I can’t forget that we used to do exciting things…

The foothills of the Andes, in Bolivia (AKA, the place that took our breath away and made us and pull the vehicle to the side of the road to take pictures)

Layers of buildings, La Paz, Bolivia

Lomas de Arena, Sand Dunes in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Dave, on a river boat coming back from drilling a well for a tribe in the Amazon.  (Bolivia)

Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece

Paris, France

Parliament buildings, London, England

Budapest, Hungary

Jurassic Coast, England

Scuba diving in the Red Sea, Sharm el Sheik, Egypt

Watching Dave scuba dive…(because I was chicken…but the boat was lovely)

Cairo at dusk. Egypt

Monastery of Saint Pishoy, Wadi El Natrun, Egypt

(above + below) Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey