{FAMILY} Spring Came Early Thanks To Peekaboo Beans

My family and I recently enjoyed a last-minute getaway to our favourite local destination – Harrison Hot Springs, and on the day before our departure, a colourful little package arrived from our favourite children’s fashion line – Peekaboo Beans.

While we were away, I thought I would snap some photos of my little beans enjoying their stylish new outfits while doing what they love most, exploring the outdoors. And just our luck, amidst a week’s worth of rainy days, the sun came out just for us. Here are some of my top snaps from our little midweek jaunt.

Harrison Hot SpringsHarrison Hot SpringsHarrison Hot SpringsHarrison Hot SpringsPeekaboo BeansHarrison Hot SpringsHarrison Hot Springs

We love it here so much, we’ll be back again during Spring Break! And I’m sure my kids will still be rocking their bright, funky Peekaboo Beans outfits then too.

10 Must-Follow Instagram Moms

I’ve always had a passion for photography – growing up I had dreams of building an in-home dark room where I could watch the liquid solutions bring my photos to life in my own darkly-lit space. My walls have always donned snaps of my favourite photographers, and I’ve taken photography classes to learn more about the art. But as time passed and priorities shifted, my dark room dreams never became a reality.

With the introduction of the digital camera, and then later the SmartPhone, photography became more accessible to me. I was able to snap shots, edit them, and share them all through my phone. When I joined Instagram, I fell in love immediately, as it allowed me to not only share my captures with others, but to view and appreciate the photos of others as well. I now follow over 500 ‘grammers, and I love them all for their unique captures and shared passion for imagery.

But there are 10 moms whose photos catch my eye, inspire me to take better shots, and brighten my day with the beautiful photos that grace their Instagram feeds. Because I know many of you love to discover and share moms who are rocking this internet space, I thought I’d share my list of my top ten favourites with you (in no particular order):

Follow: @NORTHWESTMOMMY

Why I love her: I first discovered Stasha through her blog, The Good Life and was immediately captivated by her beautiful photos and popular “Monday Listicles” meme. When I started to follow her on Instagram, her true talent for photography became clear and I was hooked. Her photos are artfully unique, centred around her adorable little boy and her (now two) Newfoundland pups as they adventure their little island on the shores of the west coast.

Instagram Moms

Follow: @ETST

Why I love her: A friend introduced me to Kelle’s blog Enjoying The Small Things a few years ago, and her touching stories and colourful imagery had me obsessed. Her optimism, beautiful writing style, and bright outlook on life with three little ones (all the same ages as mine) keep me motivated and inspired to think positively as I navigate through this “one wild and precious life”.

Instagram Moms

Follow: @JUSTINEBOULIN

Why I love her: Justine is a fellow Vancouver mom blogger with a keen eye for capturing those special moments with her little ones. She also happens to be a professional photographer (as you can tell by her exceptionally clean and cunning captures). Her photos are uniquely consistent with a formatting style that stands out from all the rest.

Instagram MomsFollow: @MAMAINBLOOM

Why I love her: I very recently stumbled upon Tania’s Instagram feed, discovered through the “Explore (based on people you follow)” section. Her photos are stunningly adorable, and upon first glance at her feed,  I could immediately tell that this mama had a talent for photography. A fellow Canadian, her mix of kid snaps and colourful landscapes keep me intrigued.

Instagram Moms

 

Follow: @MONIKAHIBBS

Why I love her: Monika’s Instagram feed is like a fresh bouquet of white peonies. Her photos are clean, crisp and artful, adding a refreshing dose of sparkle to my feed each day. She combines adorable photos of her sweet little man with her enviable fashion sense to draw in an impressive following of Instagram devotees.

Instagram Moms

 

Follow: @MOMMASGONECITY

Why I love her: If you’re not one of the near-half-a-million followers of Jessica on Instagram, then you’re truly missing out. Her series of photos of her adorable son and his trusty companion (#TheoandBeau) will melt your heart, with images so picture-perfect you’ll want to frame them and hang them on your wall. Her flare for capturing the heartwarming nap time shenanigans of her boy and his dog have thrust her into Insta-celebrity status, and her endearing photos of her newest little girl draw you in even more.

Instagram Moms

Follow: @TAMARATAGGART

Why I love her: A local news anchor and fellow mom of three, Tamara shows her “glass half full” outlook on life through her bright, captivating photos of her adorable children. Her artistic captures prove that she is just as talented behind a camera as she is in the spotlight. Through her posts you can tell that her family is her world – and what a lovely world it is.

Instagram Moms

 

Follow: @JENASHLEYWILSON

Why I love her: This mama-to-be is the owner and designer of the fabulous children’s apparel brand VONBON. While I love the photos she shares through the @VONBONAPPAREL Instagram account, her personal account is lovely as well. There’s nothing like seeing stunning bump photos of mamas-to-be, living vicariously through their photos as they prepare for the life-changing adventures of mommyhood to come.

Instagram Moms

 

Follow: @CINDYCONFETTISPARKLE

Why I love her: Just as her handle implies, Cindy’s Insta-feed is full of glitter, sparkle and confetti, interwoven with picturesque photos of her children embarking on adventures outdoors. Cindy’s artistic creativity shines through each photo, many of which highlighting unique party decor pieces that are available at her shop. Cindy’s photos remind me of the joy and excitement of celebrating children’s birthdays, and of celebrating the special moments that we share with our little ones.

Instagram Moms

Follow: @LIVINGLIFESMOMENTS

Why I love her: Kari is another Insta-mom I’ve recently come across through the “Explore (based on people you follow)” section on Instagram. Each photo beautifully encapsulates those little moments that we love to share with our little ones. Each frame-worthy photo elicits emotions that every mama can relate to, and each photo is taken with a creative and talented eye for a great capture.

Instagram Moms

While I’ve highlighted 10 super-fabulous mamas who are rocking my Instagram feed, there really is something special about each and every person that I follow on Instagram, so thank YOU for sharing your photos!

And if you’re not already following me on Instagram, here’s a little snippet of my feed too:

Follow: @BITSOFBEE

Why you’ll love me: I have 3 super-adorable kids and a dalmatian (ok I’m a little biased), and we spend lots of time snapping photos of our outdoor family jaunts. Oh, and I don’t post photos of smoothies, granola, exercise and #MeatlessMondays (because there are already so many fabulous photos of that stuff out there!), so if you’re looking for a little indulgence, come check out my feed 😉

Instagram Moms

The Art of Newborn Photography

When I was younger I was obsessed with the world-renowned newborn photography of Anne Geddes. I loved how she captured the precious, peaceful images of sleeping newborns while integrating creative and artistic props and backgrounds to elevate baby portraits to beautiful works of art. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized just how difficult capturing such a peaceful photo of a newborn actually was.

I remember attempting to recreate some of Anne Geddes’ shots with my first born, and while in my mind I thought I had nailed it, in reality…not so much.

newborn photography

Image Source: Pinterest

While I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, and have valued the importance of capturing special moments in my life, I hadn’t really considered leaving the newborn photography to the experts.

When I was approached by Rachel of Rachel Yoon Photography with the opportunity to photograph my newly-born third child, I was both nervous and excited about having the opportunity to have a professional photographer take photos of my newest baby girl. I was more than impressed by the beautiful photos she had captured and shared on her website, but I wasn’t sure if my baby would cooperate. Would she cry the whole time? Would she stay awake and twist and wiggle her way out of the adorable props? Would I be a nervous wreck in the process?

My trip to Rachel’s studio was my first outing with my third newborn. I felt tired, nervous, and hesitant as I approached her home studio and knocked on the door, but as she greeted me, her quiet and calming demeanour quickly dissolved my worried feelings and I was excited to get to work.

I was all ready to roll up my sleeves and follow her direction, assuming I’d have to do most of the work so she could prepare with camera in hand, but instead I was offered tea and snacks and a comfortable place to sit, and she told me to just sit back and relax.

Rachel’s studio was quaint and peaceful. As I settled into my seat, Rachel gently lifted my baby girl out of my arms and sat down on her couch. She grabbed a stuffed monkey and flipped a switch which turned on the rhythmic sound of a heart beat – a sound that played quietly in the background throughout the session. She then gently stroked my girl’s face, and began making a steady sh-sh-shhhh sound. She patiently rocked and cooed my baby and I watched in awe as she worked her magic.

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As I watched Rachel work, I realized just how much of an art it is to photograph newborns. While I believe that it takes true talent to work as a photographer – that the skill requires the right mix of technique, passion, and natural aptitude, newborn photography seemed to take it all to another level. It required all that, plus an added abundance of patience.

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that Rachel was very careful to not put my baby in any awkward or uncomfortable positions. I had wondered how she had captured some of the shots on her site with newborn babies with their heads in upright positions (how was this even possible with their fragile, rubber necks?). Well it’s all in the editing my friends. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes peek at how it’s done:

BEFORE:

newborn photography

AFTER:

newborn photography

The shoot took 3 full hours. And while I worried that my stirring baby – who eventually awoke in a fuss and needed to feed, who took what felt like forever to fall back asleep, and who at one point peed on the set – would frustrate Rachel, her calm demeanor and unwavering patience held strong. She just sat quietly and continued to stroke and shush my baby until she fell peacefully back to sleep.

The experience was eye-opening and stress-free, and the results were beautiful:

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I love every single picture and can’t wait to add some of the shots to my baby girl’s bedroom walls.

Check out Rachel’s website to learn more about her unique and affordable packages: Rachel Yoon Photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons To Take Maternity Photos

When I was pregnant with my first child, going for a maternity photo shoot seemed like a no-brainer. We wanted to capture the special milestone in our lives – to document our journey towards parenthood.

But with our second child, taking maternity photos seemed a little…redundant. Why would I bother doing it again when I looked exactly the same as the first time around. Not only did I opt out of the professional photos, but I think there are only a few photos (captured by friends) of my second bump. I even framed and hung a maternity photo from my first pregnancy, pretending it was of my second. I know, poor second/middle child.

My third pregnancy has been a longer, more challenging journey than my first two, and while I’m just as excited to be welcoming a third child into our family, this will definitely be my last pregnancy.

Photo by Jenn Di Spirito

Photo by Jenn Di Spirito

Eager to see this latest pregnancy as a gift and to keep my mind optimistic throughout the long journey from bump to baby, I decided to take fun, unique photos of my bump along the way.

Here’s why I think every pregnant woman should do the same:

1) Document It. You spend 9 months carrying and growing your precious baby. While it can be a long and uncomfortable journey, don’t forget that it’s a miracle. Forget about the extra weight gain, swollen ankles and puffy face, and capture yourself with that pregnancy glow – because eventually you’ll enjoy looking back at those photos and reminding yourself of the journey it took to get to mommyhood.

Follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee

Follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee

2) Celebrate It. Don’t just wait until your precious baby arrives, celebrate the journey! Take fun photos of your bump (my favourite: the “bump jump” photo below), and celebrate your transition through each trimester. It’ll help to keep you feeling positive as your body goes through the changes that come with pregnancy.

Follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee

Follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee

3) Share It. Part of celebrating your bump should be sharing it with your friends and family. While you may see the photos and think to yourself, “Ugh my face looks so bloated”, people will love taking the journey with you and watching your little belly grow. It gives them little progress updates along the way without having to check in regularly.

Follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee

Follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee

And while taking regular bump watch selfies can be a fun and rewarding way to journey through your pregnancy, I highly recommend having a few professional shots taken as well. Because with the right photographer, your true beauty will shine through, encouraging you to document, celebrate and share that beautiful baby bump with confidence.

Photo by Jenn Di Spirito

Photo by Jenn Di Spirito

 Did you have pregnancy photos taken?

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Two

She.

My doe-eyed beauty.

Innocent, independent, inquisitive.

Cleverly witty and creatively artistic.

Heart full of love and mind full of wonder.

Nature lover and story teller.

My first born.

Him.

My freckle-nosed prince.

Charming, coy, charismatic.

Mysteriously authentic and humorously bright.

Affectionate and imaginative.

Action lover and role player.

My one and only son.

 

These Two.

Together they thrive, they work as a team.

Her wit and his humour, amusingly balanced.

She teaches life lessons, he reminds her to play.

Their imaginations in sync, and their hearts full.

Infinite laughter sprinkled with innocent squabbles.

 

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And Then.

There will soon be another.

To learn, to laugh, to play.

To challenge the equilibrium.

To join in the unity.

To complete the perfect sibling trifecta.

10 Things I Love About #Vancouver

Vancouver, BC Canada – where you can swim in the ocean and ski on the mountains on the same day. Where you can enjoy four seasons of weather. Where beautiful people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds can live harmoniously. Where foodies, outdoor adventurists, artists and shopaholics have a plethora of options to satisfy their passions.

I was born and raised in the most beautiful city in the world. Here are just 10 of a million things that I love to do, see, and enjoy in and around my beloved city by the sea:

1) North Shore Hiking

There are so many beautiful hiking trails in and around Vancouver. My family enjoys strolling through the forested outdoors of the North Shore as often as possible.

 

Hiking Vancouver
2) Local Mountains

Only a 30 minute drive outside of Vancouver, there are several local snow-topped mountains to choose from, where you can ski, snowboard, toboggan, or just take in the sights.

Mountains Vancouver
3) Granville Island

The earlier years of my childhood were spent living right in the heart of Granville Island, possibly the most beautiful of Vancouver locales. A community of artists, artisans, and chefs, it’s easy to get lost in the culture and beauty of this little “island” by the city.

Granville Island Vancouver
4) Science World

A unique architectural structure nestled in the heart of the city, this destination is a must for families, filled with fun, adventure, and science – fun for the whole family!

Science World Vancouver
5) Ambleside

The best place to take a family walk with your dog – a serene stroll through trees and onto a path that runs along the water’s edge. This is a special place for my husband and I as we’ve visited it regularly for the 12 years (and counting) that we’ve had our Dalmatian. This is where he proposed to me.

Ambleside Vancouver

6) Boating

One of the best ways to enjoy the sights of Vancouver is by boat. Our family spends as much time as we can on the water.

Boating Vancouver
7) The Beaches

Vancouver is known for it’s beautiful beaches, are there are plenty to choose from in and around the city. Our favourite is the beach at Cate’s Park in North Vancouver – the perfect spot to spend the day with the family.

Beaches Vancouver
8) Apple Picking

Only a short drive out of the city, you can enjoy a taste of the country. There are a few farms that offer apple picking, pumpkin patches, and family fun. A great way to spend a quiet day outside of the city.

Farm Vancouver
9) The River

Steps from our front door, we are so fortunate to live beside a beautiful river. This is the perfect place to take a cool dip, and sit back and relax amongst our natural surroundings.

River Vancouver

10) Capilano Suspension Bridge

Another must for a family day outdoors is the Capilano Suspension Bridge – where you can stroll through forested trails, and take in the breathtaking views as you cross a bridge suspended 70 metres (230 ft) above the Capilano River. There is so much to see and do here, it’s no wonder this is a top tourist destination in Vancouver.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

What is your favourite thing to see/do in Vancouver? 

Linked up for Monday Listicles

Vancouver By Water

To wrap up our Summer, our family headed out for a day on the water, exploring the most beautiful city in the world – Vancouver, BC. We launched our boat at Cate’s Park in North Vancouver, and headed out on a nautical jaunt along our city’s breathtaking coastline, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the scenic landscapes that surrounded us.

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 We headed up Indian Arm to our first destination and favourite spot – Bedwell Bay. A quiet little cove nestled in Port Moody, BC, Bedwell Bay is the perfect spot to wakeboard, tube, or enjoy a serene picnic lunch on the surrounding semi-sandy beaches.

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We then headed over to the other side of the water, to a quaint little community in North Vancouver, BC called Deep Cove.

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And then kicked it up a few knots and raced under the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge (Second Narrows).

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On the other side of the North Shore, we waved at tourists on the docks of the Lonsdale Quay, and admired the beautiful yachts docked at the neighbouring Seaspan shipyard.

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As we made our way towards downtown Vancouver, we stopped in the Burrard Inlet to show our children a truly historic site – do any of my fellow Vancouverites remember the floating McDonald’s, aka “McBarge” that graced our waters during Expo ’86? Well, my friends, it’s still there:

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I remember eating here as a kid, and can’t believe that it has been sitting in the ocean, untouched, for nearly thirty years now.

Next, we headed towards the Vancouver skyline, and what a sight it was!

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I’ve lived in Vancouver for my entire life, and have never stopped loving the architecture of Canada Place, and the newly updated and award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre – complete with a living roof! I really do love where I live.

Confession: we didn’t quite make it as far as Science World on this boat trip, but a tour of Vancouver from the water wouldn’t be complete without a shot of another architectural favourite, the Telus World of Science:

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This picture was taken earlier in the week, but I had to add it in to complete the tour!

After a sun-filled day on the water, the sun began to descend and we headed back to the boat launch where we pulled our little boat out of the water for the last time of the season.

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If you’ve enjoyed my little water tour of Vancouver and want to experience it for yourself, there are some great boat rental places around the city.

Check out Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay, or Granville Island Boat Rentals and enjoy a water tour of my beautiful city firsthand!

Summer Lovin’

9 pictures. 9 words.

Adventure.
Love.
Relaxation.
Meditation.
Reflection.
Innocence.
Whimsical.
Companionship.
Satisfaction.

20 days in, and I’m wholeheartedly lovin’ on Summer.
Never. Going. Inside.

Linking up with the lovely Mama Kat – favourite Summer view (so far)

Dinner With A Dump Truck

I like to think that I have a pretty cool job, but let’s face it, daddy’s job is way cooler in the eyes of my littles: