Wow! What an incredible evening spent with Vancouver's Top Mom Bloggers. The Annual event was hosted at the beautiful University Women's Club of Vancouver where I got to rub shoulders with familiar faces and made a few new connections throughout the evening. The glasses were flowing with wine as these mamas enjoyed an evening out to share their stories with one another and celebrate their achievements. We were also treated to a fashion show by Monique of Wallis Evera, outfits worn by many of the bloggers in attendance. Check out a few images from the evening!
I can't believe I never posted these because they are so beautiful and making me tear up. We just celebrated this guy's First Birthday over the weekend and Caela just texted me to resend her the gallery. Upon uploading, I fell in love with these photos in a whole new light. It didn't seem that long ago, and in the grand scheme of things a year really isn't that long ago, but time is cruel and doesn't stop or wait. Second by second, moments come and go like a flash in the pan and suddenly those endless first days of becoming a mother are a distant memory (... did that really happen?) and your little one has grown exponentially into an entirely different human being. Many of my close friends are those whom I would have never expected to be, this Mama included. She was 17 when I met her and when she hired me. I can't believe it's been almost 10 years that have passed and that she has been there throughout my 3 pregnancies and spoiled my kids with gifts; Moses and Chloe were in her wedding party and in this past year it was my turn to witness her struggles and successes as she passed through the threshold into motherhood.
You guys have done an incredible job this year and I am so proud of you and so grateful to have you in my life. Congratulations on making it through the first year!
Happy Birthday Toto!
i just could not be happier about these sessions. i knew i would be providing something special for these mothers, but the impact it has had on me was unexpected. i could say that it's been an honour to photograph the most deserving moms, but the truth is that each one of us is so very deserving in our own way, each session serving as a reminder of the grace and love we are capable of providing for our children, especially on our worst days. we all have our story and our challenges that deserve reverence. no matter what our journey has been, what we lack, what we yearn for, these photos prove without a doubt that our daily toils are not in vain. there is beauty in the ordinary of the day to day.
i am so grateful to have Joon be part of these Come As You Are sessions. first of all, they are moving and it would be such a shame to not have some fond memories to take away from this beautiful home. second, and more importantly, the heartache and hell she has gone through for and with Callum deserves to be recognized and celebrated. it's been a long journey with health challenges many of us take for granted everyday. whether you were born to be a mother or not quite so confident in this new and terrifying role, we can all agree that the adjustment period is difficult enough without the universe throwing your 3.5 month baby a curveball in the form of a rare congenital liver disease. after his first surgery, Callum would suffer liver failure at 18 months and would require a transplant. nevermind the typical worries of whether or not you are capable of breastfeeding or going back to work in a year, suddenly having to worry if your baby is going to receive an organ in time (or at all) or survive the surgery puts everything else on the backburner.
today, you wouldn't be able to tell from the beams of sunshine radiating from his face, but 4 year old Callum has been one of the lucky ones to have received a successful liver transplant. he has gone from 14 medications a day down to just 1 with monthly bloodwork to monitor his new liver. you also wouldn't know Joon's heartbreaking struggle from her confident smile and dry humour, but you probably know now that you'd probably lose to her in a fight! these stories are a perfect reminder to be kind to all we meet because we don't always know each other's story and the struggles we've had.
i'm so happy i managed to get Joon to do this session! she was worried it might be too cheesy, as well as too vain, but that is neither my style nor the intention of these sessions! after the battles you two tiny warriors have fought through, your love, your courage and your perseverance absolutely deserves its spot in the limelight. you both are going to look back on these through the years and love me, HA!
Click Here to read more about Callum's story.
You might even recognize his sweet little face from on the back of Transit busses around the city encouraging all of us to become Organ Donors!
i really would have loved to start this series off with this session but it was a few days following the other two and i really needed to jump onto editing them before getting too overwhelmed. Last year, I booked a session with Jayme Anne Photography for Mother's Day. I loved them so much, I am booked again for the end of May! I was so inspired by her Project Motherhood series to get MOMS in front of the camera, I decided to also contribute to getting more Moms in front of the camera. Sarah, however, was the one that pushed me to really focus on the real deal, the maybe-not-picture-perfect-enough-for-Instagram deal. her words, which i wrote down were: "meeting moms where you are at, we don't need you to get dressed, clean the house or put on make up..." this spoke deeply to me because, honestly, that is the photography i started out with. ithe introduction of Instagram and Pinterest really changed our perceptions of normal as we were suddenly being inundated with everyone's highlight reel and strugginlg not to compare it to our normal. we are expected to do EVERYTHING, be EVERYTHING, and never falter, never sweat, never show weakness. that kind of expectation is debilitating and unrealistic.
...so! i'm trying to get back to that rawness and honesty, and what better time than in celebration of Mother's Day! the rawest of the raw. it has truly been a breath of fresh air! in spite of how these first three sessions differ SO GREATLY from one another, i love how they still manage to praise the Mother and her story with equal respect and recognition that she, indeed, is doing her best to selflessly love her kids no matter how insecure she may be feeling, no matter how tired she is from whatever issues she may be losing sleep over, no matter what her current struggles may be... i love that by showing a variety of Mothers in their everyday environment, moms will be able to relate in an honest way with one another and close the gap created by the highlight reels of social media. by recognizing and exonerating the beauty of Motherhood's everyday imperfections, i hope to encourage a greater sense of empathy and support within community. we have lost the village mentality. we need to rebuild that!
this session was awesome because Sarah wanted to capture her morning with the boys. it was an early wake-up call to arrive at 7am, but it was absolutely worth it. as it was a Sunday, they were able to enjoy a slow quiet morning without the hectic chaos of the school routine.
eventually, as you will see, Sarah will get to enjoy her cup of tea.
Sarah, what a treat to spend the morning with you and your boys.
Thank you for welcoming me into your home and life.
These are the most beautiful pictures.
You captured every mundane moment and pulled every ounce of beauty from it.
Nick and I both got so emotional over these.
It's like, all the worrying and sleeplessness and feeling pathetic ARE worth it
when I see it from your eyes, from their eyes.
This is beyond anything I could have imagined.
You just gave me so much. Again. To be able to give these to the girls one day.
You've seen me at my worst. And now to see these moments, to share them with you.
Thank you from the deepest part of me, with so much joy and gratitude.
~ Saara C.
It sounds like I did my job.
This session was very close to my heart. There are so many women that I have become friends with in our little town, all of which I would love to honour with these sessions, but I have to admit that receiving the text request to do Saara really made my day. She was the first Mom I met when we moved back here in 2009 when Moses was 5 months and her daughter Leila was 11 months. We were both first time moms, desperate for company, visiting one another's homes numerous times a week for sanity. In the last 7 years, I've witnessed her struggle as a single mom, seen her through many ups and downs. To see her now, remarried to a truly wonderful kind-hearted soul and blessed with another gorgeous little child, it means the world to me that she has found happiness.
At the end of this session, I acknowledged all this, and we both had a good cry and a hug on the bottom of her stairs in her new home.
I love you, Friend.
You deserve every last drop of this love + happiness.