Focusing on Me in 2018

Maeve has dropped her napped entirely. That means an earlier bedtime and more time for me to get back to me and get back to doing the things I used to do that were just for me. In this down time I decided to rekindle my love of photography and get back to my business – Shannon MacMillan Photography.

This year was the first time I booked sessions for people I wasn’t related to. It was nerve wracking and stressful and fun and a HUGE LEARNING EXPERIENCE!

Here are just a few of the images I’ve capture in the last few months. I have SO far to go. I’m rusty. I graduated college in 2003. I’ve only done hobby photography since then. I don’t know my “niche” yet. I love family photography for the memories it makes but it’s super stressful. I love simple, studio portraiture but then I want to be creative and keep learning and growing with photoshop. In any case, I have BIG plans for 2018.  I am converting our spare room into a portrait studio this winter and am very excited to keep learning and getting back to ME in 2018.

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Two and a Half


Maeve is just over 2 and a half and I can’t even remember the last time I wrote something on here.

I’m not going to try and play catch up because that is actually impossible haha. It’s almost impossible to keep up from week to week nowadays!

Maeve is amazing, guys. She is such an incredible little person. She blows our minds daily. I’m not going to lie, at 2.5 we have awesome times and terrible times but we have finally sorted out that when she is absolutely bananas bonkers, can’t be reasoned with and is an emotional ball of evilness, an illness is right around the corner. Otherwise our girl is beyond loving and kind. She makes kids cry at the play places because she hugs them too much hahah. She is funny, like REALLY funny, and she laughs at her own wonkiness which make it even funnier. The girl can sing. Her favourites right now are anything from frozen, True Colours, and Christmas songs. She has pitch, tone, and timing. It’s incredible to listen to. She has been fully potty trained for a couple of months now. Bedtime is pull-ups time but at 2.5 we are considering ourselves very luck and are not even worrying about nighttime training.  She does not nap. It makes for a long day but an earlier bedtime and that means hubby and I have more time together in the evenings.  The conversations with Maeve are complex and mature and this is an area where our minds a BLOWN everyday.   We are still dealing with toddler behaviours like pulling hair and pinching instead of using all the words she knows but just like when she was little, we just continue to talk her through making good choices and just hope to goodness that she’s not still pulling her friend’s hair at 9 years old hahaha.

Maeve’s favourite activities right now are skating, swimming, singing, playing doctor (I’m so excited for her to get the doctor kit that Nana got for her for Christmas), playing “mommy” and taking such good care of her little baby doll. Last night we woke up to her running in her room. We looked on the monitor and she had ran to her bedroom door and was sat down with her baby in her arms and was breast feeding her! She did one boob, then the other. She sat there for a solid 5 minutes feeding away and then just got up and went back to bed and fell back asleep. My brother was a sleep walker and we both talked in our sleep so I guess she comes by it honestly. She loves numbers and is counting up to 20. She is finally into painting and colouring so I am also very excited about this as her big Christmas gift is a craft area in our laundry room.  She is testing out her acting skills and quoting movies lines and acting out parts of her favourite movies. She is far too young but if it sticks around I’ll find a local kids theatre group so she can test out her acting and get some vocal lessons.

I don’t want our little baby to grow up but at 2.5 she is already such a dynamic little kiddo and I look forward to her growing up so much. I just can’t wait to see all the awesome things that she will do.

My computer crashed recently and I don’t have any phone uploads so just a few shots from recently of our little Christmas Angel 🙂


She’s Not Our Only

sorry friends, no, i am not pregnant 😦

i just hate the term “only child”.  it just seems negative to me.  like you ONLY have her?

she IS our only though. our one and only. our only true reason for living.  the only one that has our hearts completely.

i have been debating this topic for months and months but i don’t know why i am debating it? because i think i should? it’s the normal thing to do? i have asked myself various questions. do i want to put myself through all of this uncertainty again? do i have even the slightest spark of wanting another? will a second child make our family complete?

the answer to these questions is no, no, and no.

i don’t want another child. so why am i constantly thinking about it?

there are a million things i think about when i think about another. some things are sad because i worry what life will be like for maeve if she doesn’t have a sibling. some are irrational because i am thinking of my ego and what people will think of me.  some are selfish because i don’t want to go through anymore fertility treatments, i do not want to be pregnant again, i do not want to recover from a 5th surgery, i do not want to go through PPD again.

i worry that maeve is a very social and caring child that would be an amazing big sister and we are choosing to not give her that opportunity.  she would miss out on having a forever friend and playmate.  someone for her to go on adventures with and kiss and hug endlessly.  however, i have been told by many people not to have a second child just to give your child a sibling.  you must really want to have a second.

i worry that people will look at me with one child and think “what is wrong with her that she can’t handle more than one?  she must not be a very good or loving mother”.  other family members that are very close to us have 3 (going on 4) and 2 children and i worry that people will think that i am not as “good” as these moms if i don’t have more than 1. this is stupid.  i know this but i don’t want to be thought of a lesser mom because i only want one.  although, truth be told, i don’t know how well i would handle more than one. my patience wears thin on a daily basis with our extremely spirited child and i really don’t know what kind of mom i would be to two.  i would obviously be able to do it but at what cost to my mental well being?

i worry that i will not love a second baby the same way if  i have to go through all of this infertility and pregnancy BS once again.  i almost didn’t make to my pregnancy with maeve.  i had embryos waiting and still i just wanted to give up.  i was at the end of my infertility rope.  i almost didn’t make it through my pregnancy with maeve.  i honesly barely made it through each day for a slew of reasons and i can’t even begin to think about doing that again with a massive handful of a toddler in my life.

i don’t want to be sad anymore.  i don’t want the particular type of sadness and longing that infertility brings into my life to be in my life ever again.  yes, that extreme sadness brought me the best thing that has ever happened to me but now i have gotten everything i ever wanted – a beautiful, healthy child.  i am not longing for this anywhere near as much as i did before maeve.

if we just get down to brass tax, and completely take emotions out of the equation, the likeliness of us having another child is like 0%. we have transferred 7 embryos and have had 1 living child.  we have 3 embryos frozen and they are from an IVF cycle where nothing fertilized naturally and emergency ICSI had to be performed 24 hours post retrieval to salvage the eggs.  our doctor never gives percentages as there really aren’t any for our particular situation but i am pretty sure it is a 0% chance that any of these 3 embryos will actually produce a living child.  we can not do IVF again.  yes, we have a covered cycle but i produce too many follicles and not enough mature eggs.  i think in my last egg retrieval i had well over 30 follicles and only 7 mature eggs! out of those 7, 4 made it to blast to be frozen. after that round of IVF i went in OHSS and was in the hospital for 8 days.  my ovaries swelled so large that they affected my kidneys and morphine barely worked for the pain.  i filled with 30 lbs of fluid.  i can never risk going through that again.  my husband has told me he never wants me to go through that again.  he would never want another child badly enough to risk it.

in the end i know all of this is a defense mechanism.  i have to convince myself that i do not want another because if i let myself truly want another and then we can not have one i will spend the rest of my life feeling like my family is not complete and i will miss the child we do not have.  if i never let myself want another child then i will not miss anything.

i just wish i had a crystal ball.





Maeve is 2

our wild little sweetie is 2.

i can totally believe it and not believe it, if that makes any sense?

maeve is totally wild and stubborn and challenges us on many, many things but she is equally as loving and thoughtful and kind and i feel like my heart could explode many times in the day.

her new thing now is whenever she has to leave the room, even if she is just going to the next room to get a toy or go up stairs to get dressed with daddy, she has to come give me a “nice kiss” a “nice hug” and tell me “see you soon mommy!”.  i could just die every time. i never want her to stop doing this.

she likes to talk about emotions.  she will say “mommy so happy”  or  “daddy so happy” when we’re doing different things throughout the day.  she started saying “maeve so sad” and making a sad face recently and i didn’t know why she would be saying this at first.  i would tell her i don’t want her to be sad and would give her a kiss and hug to help her feel happy. then i realized she got Scout for her birthday and he says “i’m sad, i need a hug”.  she was saying this so she could get extra hugs and snuggles. once we called her out on it she got a sheepish grin on her face and nodded that that is exactly what she was doing.  what a girl! LOL

she loves to sing!  wheels on the bus, old mcdonald, twinkle twinkle, rock a bye baby are her number ones.  she is starting say chunks of the alphabet song and “la las” the parts she is not sure about. she is counting 1-10 and is starting to say 11, 12, 13, 14.  she is on a kick with just saying 2, 3, 6 all the time. not sure what it means but it is definitely an important combo for her right now haha.

she is doing ballet and gymnastics and going to “school” (montessori) two days a week. she is growing up so much and we are so proud of her.

she is stubborn and challenging.  she knows how to get what she wants but not in a bratty way (yet!).  she just knows if she asks we’re likely to let her do things because, hey, why not! we only have her.  her favourite is “MAEVE COMING!” she wants in on the action at all times. and really, unless it completely unsafe, which it never is, why can’t she be coming along?  she loves to help daddy  do “fixing”. just give her the measuring tape and screw driver and she thinks she is doing the job herself.

at school she loves playing outside (obvi!), doing sorting games, playing at the pouring station and playing in the discovery bin.  she does cutting in the kitchen station and loves to  hug her friends and teachers.  she has always been so affectionate. i love this quality about her. everyone is a friend.

her birthday was a “Rock Star” party and she had an absolute blast!  we built a stage and got her a little drum set.  she was rocking out HARD all day and was so amazing at sharing her things with all of her friends and cousins.  it was over a week ago and she still says “maeve a rock star”, “mommy a rock star”. we do concerts everyday and she loves when i sing in the microphone. she keeps saying “maeve birthday coming up soon” and gets so sad when i tell her that her birthday has passed. she wants to have another party! takes after her mommy!

we could not be more proud of the little person she has become.  she is destined for great things and i can’t believe i get to be her mom and join her on her journey through life.

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this is going to take a long time

i am a fucking wreck. i can have some stretches of time where i can manage to not focus on tucker’s death but as soon as the thought comes completely into my head i am done.  i get light headed. like almost on the verge of a hyperventilating panic attack but i am able to JUST keep it together.

today i thought a lot about how totally messed up it is to actually witness something die. like totally natural, no one there to walk you through it and let you know what to expect, death.

you don’t really know what is happening and you are helpless to stop it even though every fiber of your being is screaming to make it stop and you are so scared because in a split second your realize – this is death.

some messages i have received from friends and family have struck me in a certain way that makes me look at what happened from a slightly different angle. today i got a message from a friend that said “although upsetting to be there when it happened, what a gift for him that you were”.  reading this it dawned on me that this is not about me and my feelings. it is about him and his. yes, it was hard and i’m struggling with processing it all, but we take on the responsibility of a life.  they give us so much joy and love, they deserve for us to take the brunt of the pain.  we really do owe them that.

i am riddled with guilt because in the moment, i was scared and i am having a hard time separating that i was scared of what was happening, i was not actually scared of Tucker. but because what was happening to him was so scary i do feel like in his last moments on earth i was too scared to fully embrace him.  i was touching him and then jumped back a bit as he made one large final movement of stretching.  did i let him down in his final moment by breaking my touch on his body? or did he leave while i was in fact comforting him and the physical movements were just the involuntary movements of death that take place in the body?  this is where i am at in processing my sweet boys passing. these the dreadful thoughts that are filling my mind today. i guess it is all part of the grieving process.

i am hopeful that each day the good, loving memories of our life together will start to take over.




i’m crippled with sadness today.

i lost my first baby today. the love of my life.  the one that taught me unconditional love and responsibility.  the one i took care of when i was too young and immature to even take care of myself.  my fur baby. my once in a lifetime pal.

Tucker.  My little Tuckybear. My sweet baby boy.


he was 13 and a half and in dog years that is a great run but i had a much older age in mind and i was not even close to thinking of the end for him.

we woke at 3 am to his laboured breathing.  we tried to get him to get up but he could not move.  we tried lifting him up but his legs just crumpled beneath him. i called an urgent care clinic. i came back upstairs to get dressed and his breathing was lighter.  i crouched beside him to see how he was doing. i cradled his face and pet his neck.  all of a sudden he stretched all of his legs out long, stretched his neck back towards me and then he was gone.


when you don’t see death on a regular basis it’s scary and confusing.  it is helpless. it is terrifying. it is pure sadness.

he convulsed ever so slightly, twice, and each time i thought “no! he’s okay. he’s okay right? no, he’s gone. he’s gone? he’s gone!”

how did this happen. how did this happen so fast. it’s was only about 15 minutes. we couldn’t have even gotten him to a clinic in time.

i said good bye. the hours felt like minutes. it was 5 a.m. and i was taking my sweet boy for one last car ride.  i kept it together the best i could while filling out paperwork and paying for his cremation.  the tech and vet lifted him from the car and brought him into the clinic and placed him on a cold metal gurney.  i hated this but he was wrapped in his thick brown blanket so he looked comfortable enough.  i knew that he could not feel it but i was just feeling everything for him.  i needed everything to be the best it could be for him until the moment i had to leave him.

the vet checked his belly. it was tight.  she asked to check his abdomen.  i agreed.  one quick poke and we had an answer.  he had a massive internal bleed.  his exterior was peppered with small to medium fatty masses.  it is only natural to believe his insides were the same.  she said it was most likely a tumor on the spleen or liver that had ruptured. this is very common in old dogs and is a painless way to go. from what we witnessed it did seem to be painless. some laboured breathing as his lungs were put under pressure and then just a quiet passing as he felt sleepy and closed his eyes forever.  she said most owners come home to their pets gone and they have the agony of not being there for them in the last moments.  it was hard to witness but my boy died in his home, in his favourite place to be, at the foot of our bed and we were there beside him to help him pass, hopefully, without fear.

i was not ready for this. not even one bit. he was old but he was still full of life.  he was wobbly on his feet at times and his hips hurt to get up but he was still by my side and excited to go out on adventures and begging for food at my lap every night.  he still had a spark.

i think that is probably best though. he was happy and full of life and capable until his last day.  the alternative could have been suffering and questioning if everything i did for him right.

i keep delaying getting into bed. i can’t stand that tomorrow is the first day that he will not be with me. i don’t want that day to come.  if i just stay awake it will still be the same day and it will be a day that i was able to stroke his soft fur and feel his warm breath.  hear his feet click along the hardwood floor and his collar tags jingle.

i was not ready for this. not even a little bit. i honestly don’t know my life without him in it anymore.  i am numb but at the same time i am so full of pain.

my sweet, sweet, sweet baby boy.

prayers, good vibes and positive thoughts please

after a few years of trying my  girlfriend and her husband are having twin girls 🙂 i think of her and the babies all the time but a couple of nights ago i felt totally overwhelming with a feeling that i must text her and let her know i am thinking of her.

today i got a message that made my heart just sink.

she is having complications and is now on bed rest. she can’t leave the house unless it’s for an appointment. she didn’t share specifically what is going on but it’s not good. she is a former NICU nurse and knows all of the horrors that can go along with premature babies. i know she must just be a mess right now.  as there isn’t really much i can do for her physically i am trying to to what i can mentally and i am asking for your help.

she ended her text with “i appreciate all good thoughts that people can send my way”.

please keep Maria and her precious babies in your prayers and send any positive thoughts you can out to the universe to make their way to her and her babies.