But First, Let Me Take A Selfie

Everywhere I go nowadays I see teens, twenty-somethings and tourists unabashedly snapping selfies like their lives depend on it. On hikes I see singles wandering along the trails, holding selfie sticks like self-guided leashes and chattering aloud to themselves. When I exit bathroom stalls at restaurants, I see young girls flipping their hair and pouting in the mirror as they snap quick bathroom selfies before returning to their tables, as if the act were as natural as washing their hands. There are businesses right here in my city that are completely designed around society’s love for taking selfies, and there’s even a song about it.

I know I probably sound old, because for many, selfies have always just been a part of everyday life. But I remember a time when we had to buy rolls of film, carefully insert them into our cameras, and wait for a week before unveiling the photos that we had taken through printed photographs. Back in those days, we did what we called “hold up” photos, but the intentions weren’t the same. We turned the camera around and snapped photos to capture us in the moment, having fun with our friends. I don’t remember ever sitting alone turning the camera on myself and snapping a pic, or bringing my camera into the bathroom and pouting into the mirror for a picture.

I’m not going to lie, I snap a quick selfie from time to time too. I love social media and sometimes, you’ve gotta make an appearance in your feed! But for some reason, when I pull out my phone and turn the lens on myself, I get completely embarrassed. I feel as though I’m peeing in public, or taking off my top. Everyone else seems unfased when they snap selfies, so why does the act make me feel so awkwardly bashful?

Maybe it’s a generational thing. Maybe it’s because I remember a time when we would have mocked the act of selfie-taking – a time when we would have pointed our fingers laughing and said look at that arrogant girl over there, flipping her hair and squinting into the camera like she’s her own personal paparazzo.

But today, selfies are ubiquitous. So I will adjust, and hopefully my feelings of embarrassment will subside.

selfie

Just had my hair done! But first, let me take a selfie.

 

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:

vancouver_newborn_photographer_cloey_3 vancouver_newborn_photographer_cloey_4 vancouver_newborn_photographer_cloey_5 vancouver_newborn_photographer_cloey_6 newborn photography

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Princess (Wordless Wednesday)

 

Twenty Twelve

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 FROM THE BEE FAMILY!

Stay tuned for a new blog design, and a weekly linkup in 2012!

Feed The Birds

I was supposed to go to work today, but as I tucked my little ones into bed last night, I thought to myself, I need a day with my babies, work can wait. So I sent a quick email, and it was set. Family Fun Friday would be a full day affair.
The kids (thank my lucky stars) slept all night, and slept IN this morning. A great way to start the day. We packed up some snacks, bundled up, and headed out to the most beautiful place in Vancouver, Stanley Park, where we met up with some friends for some fun outdoors. For over 3 hours we played at the playground by the ocean, sprinkled bird seed by the pond, and snacked on goodies and warm steamed milk.
I read somewhere that “feed the birds” can be used as a way to congratulate or give props to someone. That it’s the new high five. So if you’re a busy career mommy like me, who has decided to push work aside and focus on the important things this week. Feed the birds!

“Come feed the little birds,
Show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you.”

– Mary Poppins, Feed The Birds

December Rain

Linked up for Wordless Wednesday with:
and then, she {snapped}

How I Came To Bee

When I first saw the topic for this week’s Moday Listicles, I was going to opt out. It gave me flashbacks of my childhood which was laden with projects surrounding the theme of “family trees”. Teachers prompted us to explore our lineages – to draw trees with photos and dotted lines connecting our family members, showing how we were made, where we came from, and sometimes even showing who we ressembled. It was all about biological ties – something I didn’t share with my family.
I love a challenge, so instead of making up excuses for why I can’t participate in this project, I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to face my childhood insecurities and write a list about my own unique family history, how it has evolved and influenced the person that I am today. So here here it is, my list of 10 things “family tree”.
1) It all started with a boy and a girl. They were in love, and they made a baby. They were young, they were financially unstable, and they wanted more for their baby, so they made the difficult decision to give her up for adoption.
2) A woman with a passion for children made the decision to help a family in need. Fate brought her a little girl who needed love, and the woman and the little girl were bonded for life. The woman signed some papers and officially became the little girl’s mother.
3) The woman was temporarily married to a man. Their love ended and he soon married another woman who had a child of her own. Together they had another child and began their own family. The little girl lost touch with that man, and he was never to be heard from again.
4) The woman and the little girl spent a few years living happily on their own, until several years later, when the woman met a loving man who had 2 children of his own. They fell in love, married, and when the little girl was 21, he legally became her father.
5) At the age of 29, the girl met a boy who loved her unconditionally. They dated for many years, and eventually became husband and wife.
6) The girl and her husband longed for a child of their own, so they made a beautiful baby girl. She was their pride and joy. She was the girl’s first biologically-tied family member, and the love that she felt for her baby confirmed her desire to have another child.
7) The girl and her husband made another baby – this time a beautiful baby boy. They felt like their family was finally complete, and the family of four lived happily ever after.
8) One day, the girl checked her email, and to her surprise, she had a note from a stranger who identified himself as her biological father. They emailed each other every day, until one day they met in person.
9) The girl and her biological father shared a few visits, exchanged several emails, and developed a special and everlasting friendship. The biological father had two boys, half brothers to the girl who once had no biological ties. She hopes to one day meet them, and the rest of her extended biological family.
10) The girl now has an adopted family who loves her, who made her who she is and who will remain her constant for the rest of her life. She has her own family of four, that she has created with her loving husband. She has an extended family of friends who have loved and supported her through her journey, and she now has a biological father with whom she has reconnected. He knows her past, her biological lineage, and is the one who brought her into this world.The girl now has a solid foundation, with many fruitful branches, limbs and leaves – all of which have contributed to the beautiful tree that she has become today.

A Beachin’ September Saturday

After a torturous Friday night from hell – which included such events as bathing my dog 3 times in a row after she had been stink-sprayed 2 inches from her face by an angry skunk at midnight, coinciding with an inconsolable toddler who cried continuously from 11pm until I finally managed to get him down at 3am – I needed to recoup with a Saturday afternoon at my happy place.
As always, I sat back and inhaled the fresh air as I watched my beautiful family enjoy this lovely spot we visit often, only 10 minutes (by car) from our house.
We left the beach with smiles on our faces, and our skin kissed by the sun. The stresses of the night before slowly dissolved, replaced by the sounds of kidlet giggles and happy faces. The cherry on top of our delicious day – when my daughter handed me this heart-shaped leaf and told me that “I will have her heart forever”. *swoon*

Parenting in Playland

I used to be this kid. Grinning from ear to ear, carefree and having the time of my life at Playland (our local annual carnival for those of you who don’t live in my ‘hood).

But yesterday, when the hubs and I took our 4 year old to my favourite childhood destination, it dawned on me. I could no longer run enthusiastically from ride to ride, dragging my parents behind me. I could no longer stuff my face with cotton candy, and candy apples, and carelessly wipe my sticky fingers on my pants. I was the parent. I had to worry about “staying close to mommy”, and “waiting patiently in line”, and taking a break to “eat something for lunch”. And as I looked around, I observed many people like me, possibly thinking the same thing.

Instead of throwing my arms in the air while flying down the wild descent  of my very first roller coaster ride, I was standing in a lineup with several other parents, guarding our bags and waving (jealously) at our kids who were having the time of their lives. Instead of screaming with excitement, bouncing out of the ride and off to the next, I was running to catch up – bags and wet ones and snacks and oversized toy prizes flying behind me. I felt like a herd of sheep, running with other parents to relieve our children from the rides that we couldn’t join them on, wrestling with the worn straps while trying to free our children from one ride so we could rush them to the next.

As I climbed into the flying elephant ride with my little girl, I glanced at other moms and we shared a discerning look, wondering how we were going to squeeze our child-bearing hips into the small elephant seats.
As we strolled through the games section, I caught the eye of another mom who was being dragged to a $20-a-toss games table by her 2 little boys. We shared an eye-roll-head-nod as we were pulled past stuffies and fishing games and ring tosses, our wallets spewing money at each game that passed.
It was a blast, it really was, but being a mom in a place like Playland, pales in comparison to the fun and excitement of being a kid.
Totally worth seeing her smile, even though I look worn and tired!