Vancouver Documentary Photographer - Day in the life of The Grahan Family

Photography has taken me to places I have never been.

Because of photographers that I've connected with through the web (which I admittedly loath because my business has such a dependency on it), I can almost always say - "Hey! There is someone here that I'd love to meet in real life!". 

Like Sylvie from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I lived across the lakes from this city for a couple of years and heard great things about it, but never thought to visit. Well, I got some front row seats to this fabulous and upbeat city as we biked around on their Mill City adventure. But location and environment is only part of the family equation - the rest is all about the company you keep. The Grahan's are generous and kind and ever patient with their two boys. I learnt so much from spending 2 days with them, but here are my top 3.

First, I hardly heard the word "No".

I suspect a lot of it has to do with the Montessori training Sylvie has at her fingertips. Instead, she distracts, or gives and reasons why she disagrees or disapproves. I mean, it's brilliant makes the negotiations go so much smoother when you don't hear rejection right off the bat! 

Second, they make the best cold brew coffee.

That dry heat (it was barely humid, which was so niiiiceee!) was beat with cold, strong servings of homemade cold brew. Prepped by their 3-year old. No for reals - just watch the video for proof. I have had this coffee system in my amazon cart for months, but don't be like me. If you love cold brew and saving the environment (it doesn't use paper filters or coffee pods!), check out Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker!

Third, Sylvie and Brian don't rush their kids or take over for them.

....Even when they are in a little bit of a hurry or want to move things along. They listen to their words, encourage with positive feedback, and give them the space to work things out for themselves. Learn through practice, as it were. It was a really lovely energy to be around (and markedly differently than my overwhelmed, often frantic brain). 

The icing on top was to see the subtle moments where Sylvie and Brian look out for each other, even while their hands are full with their boys. A reassuring touch on the shoulder, a quick hug in passing, putting a towel over him while he dries one of the boys. These little gestures of love are things that sometimes we, as parents, forget to do for each other and it was a good reminder for me.

Grahans, thank you for gifting me your wisdom and for opening your home and extending your friendship. I hope these photos and video will always remind you what amazing parents you both are! 

Mom playing with boys while trying to get them to brush their teeth.
family with their bikes, waiting for a city train on the station platform
mom and two boys looking out the window to the city
mother and son dipping their toes in the pool while dad and older brother go for a swim
toddler licking his mother's cheek while dad and brother laugh
boy asleep on his bed next to his stuffy
mom cuddling her son sitting on the bed by the window
dad grilling hotdogs on the outdoor fire pit in the backyard
mom entering the house through the backdoor

Felicia Chang is a documentary family photographer who tells stories of families that live their reality with courage and strength, unapologetically. Contact her to find out about how to have your family story documented. You can connect with her at @feliciachangphoto on Instagram or sign up for her newsletter to stay in touch.