This year Floyd turns 7 which makes him 47 in dog years!! We celebrated with balloons, party hats and cupcakes. Our neighbours were SO CONFUSED. They know when all our birthdays are so we had to admit that all this was for Mr. Floyd. The girls were disappointed when they couldn’t give him a cupcake but each enjoyed one on his behalf.
This year was one for the books. For starters, we celebrated Jessie’s birthday during a pandemic. As I write this [on the 50th day of social isolation], a lot of things have changed. Jess’ birthday was a week after ‘social distancing’ came into practice and to say that I was sad for her is a complete understatement. Turning three is a pretty big deal in this house and I wanted it to be as special as she is.
So we did all the things:
Blew up balloons
Opened presents first thing in the morning
Had a mini puppy party
Made birthday pancakes with dream whip and candles
Played all day long
Swam in the bath
Ordered cheesy bowties from Eastside Marios for dinner
Sang Happy Birthday just the 4 of us and blew out candles on a homemade chocolate cake that the girls helped make & decorate
Although it wasn’t what I had envisioned, it filled my heart. My sister and her family even braved the terrible weather to come sing Happy Birthday from the sidewalk. They dressed up as princesses and held up a homemade banner. Needless to say, Jessie was thrilled and I think she had as weird and wacky of a day as she is in general. I can’t believe my baby is three.
As personal branding photography has become more & more popular, I have been waiting for an opportunity to add it to my portfolio. Many of the mamas I take family, maternity and newborn photos for are also small business owners and work from home. So I decided to get my toes wet.
People love to support local – of that I’m sure
However, a cute product or awesome service will only get you so far. It is essential that people see who they’re investing in. Branding photography matches a face to a name and sets you apart from your competition! It shows your customers that you are willing to invest in yourself… so why shouldn’t they!?
My sister in law Natasha recently started her own business through Rodan & Fields. She wanted a change and chose a versatile, ‘work from wifi’ opportunity. With 14 years of Human Resource expertise under her belt she thrives on helping those around her by creating personalized plans for success!
When asked ‘what sets you apart from all the other consultants in this company’ her answer was simple – not a lot. That is just how honest she is. She’s not going to sell you something that she knows won’t work, doesn’t love, or hasn’t seen success with. She’s not going to lead you down a path that she wouldn’t take herself. Instead, she will be your own personal skin care cheerleader. Whether it’s fine lines, wrinkles, acne, dullness, etc. she will be with you every step of the way. She is honest, values integrity and goes above and beyond for her clients. Your success is literally her success. Plus the company offers a 60 days money back guarantee – even empty bottles! That is how much they know you’re going to love their products.
Here are a few photos from our super fun branding session that took place prior to the COVID-19 social distancing precautions. We really wanted to highlight that this is a company you can grow from the comfort of your own home, in the pockets of opportunity. If you’d like to know more, Natasha is on instagram @nnhunt14 and Facebook under Natasha Hunt. Feel free to give her a shout and try the skin care solution tool to see what products it recommends for you. I guarantee that Tash will become more than just your skin care consultant, but a friend as well. So the next time you’re about to run out of your drugstore products, I urge to reach out to an actual human who is as invested in your skin care success as you are!
Big shoutout to Tash’s hair and makeup artist Britt. You can find her on instagram @beautybitsbybritts or Beauty Bits by Britt on Facebook!
I don’t even know where to begin with this sweet beautiful soul. She is thoughtful, kind, determined, creative, inquisitive, and brave. I cannot believe that she has already graced this earth FIVE whole years and continues to change our lives in the most positive and impactful ways.
She loves horses, dolphins and puppies, playing with friends, drawing, being outside, dressing up and using her imagination. She is excited to learn new things at school and make new friends, she is kind and compassionate with her sister, and loves us with her whole heart. I can’t wait to see what this next year brings!
I am a mother. I am a photographer. & I am also a frontline healthcare worker.
Since the onset of COVID-19, I stopped picking up casual shifts in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. This was mostly due to fear. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty around this ‘novel’ virus. Fear of contracting it and spreading it to my young family. Fear of more physical and social isolation if that were to happen. Fear of putting my parents at risk if we were to ask them to watch the girls while Craig and I both worked.
While I know this decision is what’s best for my family, I also feel guilty. Guilty that I’m not there with my fellow RNs, RTs, doctors, pharmacists, dieticians, HCAs, unit clerks, social workers, etc. I feel guilty that I’m not on the literal front line caring for the wonderful children in the PICU & ‘doing my part’ as I feel I should be.
So I did something that made my heart happy yesterday. I chose two very deserving families to take photos of for the #thefrontstepsproject while practicing social distancing.
I hope that these photos will help them remember this strange & crazy time. When the world shut down but time continued. I hope that they show these photos to their kids when they’re old and grown, and tell them of a time when the world went to sleep and woke up more beautiful than ever before.
Happy first birthday Hattie ✨ Welcome to the world Arthur 🌎
Photos taken from the sidewalk with my @sigmacanada 85mm 1.4 art
It recently dawned on me that I have never shared either of the girls’ birth stories on here [even though I have them meticulously written down]. A couple weeks ago I went through Jess’ to ease the mind of an expecting mama preparing for a scheduled c-section and have since decided to publish it.
Jessie’s due date according to our dating ultrasound was April. 3ʳᵈ 2017 – basically two years after Brynlee’s. However, with the option of a repeat c section, I knew that she would come early and therefore had the privilege of scheduling her birthday for March 30th, 2017.
Late in my pregnancy with Brynlee, I experienced Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and was waiting for that to pop up again. Thus at my routine 38 week prenatal check up with Jess, it started. I had +2 protein in my urine, a normal blood pressure and was sent to the lab for a protein creatinine ratio test.
The following day I experienced a headache and blurred vision from noon onward (pretty indicative signs of PIH). So once Craig got home from work we decided to head to the hospital while Brynlee was with Lola. At the hospital my urine was dipped and had +3 protein & my blood pressure was 123/72. For most, this is considered a normal blood pressure but for me it was high. They did a few other tests that I won’t bore you with – some came back higher than normal or previous and some came back just fine. However, the decision was made to move up my c section to March 24th and we were sent home to recoup.
A couple days later I got up with Craig before work and felt a little trickle. I wondered if my water had broken but expected it to gush like it had with Brynlee. Every time I changed position or moved it would trickle again but never gushed, even when I stood up. My sister had given me an amniotic fluid swab so I tested and it instantly turned blue. So we grabbed our bags, dropped Brynlee off at Lola’s and headed to the hospital to meet our new baby!
There are many perks of having an older sister who works on the l&d unit you’re delivering at. However, the best was that we were greeted by her good friend Erin as soon as we stepped onto the unit. She had my chart under her arm ready to go and I knew that we were in the best of hands. Erin went to work double checking that my water had indeed broken, hooked me up to the fetal monitor and gave Dr. Chua a call. At this point my contractions were really starting to come – I remember her looking at the monitor and asking if I could ‘feel that’. I looked up at her and said, ‘oh yea!’ Very briefly I considered a VBAC and then remembered the odds my doctor had stated when we discussed a ‘birth plan’ – 20%. NO thanks.
The original plan was to wait until the end of Dr. Chua’s clinic day but because my labour was coming on quite quickly, they changed their minds. Erin started my IV, got us ready for the OR and provided some quick education on what to expect during surgery. We walked over to recovery in preparation to go into the OR no more than 90 minutes from arriving on the unit. This was it!
In the OR my fantastic nurses were Natalie & Kristen and Sara & Ashley. I hopped up onto the operating table, and once the anesthesiologist came in, he tipped the table and administered the spinal into my lower back. I was instructed to hold a pillow but something I had remembered from my epidural with Brynlee was to ask a nurse to place her hands on my shoulders. My contractions were fairly strong and quite regular at this point so this felt extremely grounding to me. They continued to get everything prepped and finally brought Craig into the OR at 12:58pm.
Jessica Olive Hunt was born at 1:15pm on March 23rd, 2017 weighing 8 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long. I was able to hear her first cry and remember crying myself. Craig cut the umbilical cord and the nurses washed & weighed her. In true Hunt fashion, she went through 3 diapers before the nurses were able to get a clean one on her. We were so overjoyed that we had another beautiful healthy baby GIRL!
Craig snuggled her and did skin to skin while they finished up surgery. When all was said and done, we hung out in recovery for a bit to keep an eye on my vitals and assess dermatomes. I also got a dose of Gravol since I was feeling nauseous from the anesthetic. Eventually I felt well enough to hold Jess and just like her sister, she latched easily and started to feed immediately.
We had a bunch of people eager and excited to meet Jessica. But most importantly, her big sister Brynlee wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about. Seeing the two of them together made Craig and I’s hearts burst with love. We could already tell that they were going to be best friends for life and that the love we had for our children had multiplied.
We luckily only spent 2 nights in hospital with Jessica. Unfortunately my hemoglobin had dropped significantly post-op and Dr. Chua mentioned a possible blood transfusion. I declined in hopes that my levels would rise on their own. I was determined to get out of there quickly and be able to celebrate Brynlee’s birthday with her at home. Thankfully that is what happened and we were discharged on March 25th, 2017.
This year we were in Mexico until the beginning of December so as soon as we got home it was full on Christmas season! I know I say it every single year, but this year was my absolute FAVOURITE.
The first thing we did was check out Birchwood Meadows. It was freezing and snowing but we had a great time. We roasted marshmallows at the bonfire, snuggled kitties and made the girls fresh Christmas arrangements for their rooms. Lola even treated them to adorable new unicorn ornaments!
Brynlee had Christmas break from Dec. 20 – Jan. 6th and enjoyed slow cozy days spent taking it easy. This mama enjoyed not having to head to drop-off & pick-up and marked the last one of the decade with a celebratory photo. We also got to experience our first school Christmas concert – Brynlee’s class sang 5 Little Elves while her dance class performed to Let it Snow.
Craig & I celebrated our FIFTH wedding anniversary. In addition to dinner, we booked a relaxing getaway to the Nordic Spa.
We saved going to see Santa until December 24th since we got back from Mexico so late. The girls did amazing considering Jess wanted NOTHING to do with the big man in red last year.