Baby K Turns 1-Learning to Walk, Learning to Drive, and an Attempted Cake Smash

On Sunday we had Baby K’s 1 year portrait session, at his family’s home in Millarville. This was his final session in his year long Watch Me Grow series of portraits.  Our early morning session saw him full of smiles and good humour for a whole hour, with hardly a fuss. He’s becoming quite a little character. It’s so much fun to see the developing personality of a year old baby.

We started with family portraits. I discovered how silly pretend fart noises can really make kids laugh, and get even a babies attention.

We just had to capture Baby K being swung around in the air by his Dad. A tricky shot to get, as we attempted different angles, but definitely a wonderful family moment!

Then Baby K and Big Sister S checked out their new BMW, that their Dad won at a charitable silent auction. Baby K is really enjoying his new ride! A 1 year old learning to drive already:)

Baby K’s mom had planned a cake smash for the main feature of his portrait session. Big Sister S was very excited about her brother’s cupcake, apparently more than he was. After a few set up shots, we prepared for the cake smashing mayhem. But Baby K doesn’t seem to have a sweet tooth ( first time I’ve ever met a child that wasn’t interested in cake) we kept waiting for him to get messy, and start shovelling in cake, but he never did. No matter how many times dad put icing on his lips, he just wasn’t interested. What he did want to play with, and suck on, was his candle. He dipped his candle in the icing a few times, but that was the extend of the attempted cake smash. When it became apparent that it wasn’t  going to happen, the whole family gathered round, and helped Baby K eat his cake. It made for a great candid family portrait, and most importantly, the cupcake was not wasted!

What I enjoyed the most, was capturing some candid, lifestyle portraits of Baby K learning to walk. I just love watching the expressions of determination, concentration, and then joy on a babies face as they learn to master this life skill. And his little fingers holding onto his Dad for support – love!

I’ve truly enjoyed capturing portraits this year for Baby K’s family. It’s been an honour to be welcomed in their home, to spend so many happy moments, capturing so many milestones for their little man. Baby K’s mom is so creative, and was so much fun to work with, as we developed an idea, and theme for each shoot.

Their family will have a beautiful keepsake album that they can treasure, and look back at for many years to come. I can just imagine the album coming out many years from now at Baby K’s wedding…….;)

Best wishes Baby K and family.

Millarville Family Portraits Millarville candid baby portraits Millarville candid kids portraits

Baby 1 year portrait Millarville cake smash baby cake smash cake smash portraits baby learning to walkMillarville baby portraits

 

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Yvonne and Martin’s Wedding Celebration {Canmore, AB}

Joyous, hilarious, and true to life. Living each moment, feeling each emotion of the day deeply. That is how I would describe Yvonne and Martin’s Wedding celebrations this past Thursday. They are such a great couple, you can’t help but love them. I truly enjoyed capturing their special day, along with all their family and close friends.

Their small, intimate wedding was held at the Iron Goat Pub and Grill in Canmore, AB. This rustic, charming, luxurious venue, was the perfect place for guests to relax, enjoy a quiet drink, and catch up with family and friends not seen in a long time, while the attentive, hospitable staff took care of each guest’s needs. With a fabulous view of the Three Sisters mountains as our backdrop, we took in the breathtaking views, and relaxed in this world class destination.

Yvonne and Martin’s long distance love story spans the Atlantic, with Martin being from the United Kingdom, Yvonne from Canada. The cultural differences, and idiosyncrasies from each country were good for a few laughs, as slang words, sayings, and references from each country were compared.

But all joking aside, it hasn’t been easy for these two very much in love people to have spent so much time apart during their relationship. Their beautiful, emotive, at moments entertaining, personally written vows, made it clear to all of us present, how devoted they are to each other, and their determination to not let the distance of the Atlantic, or demanding jobs, get in the way of their love.

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ron Goat Canmore Wedding

After their ceremony, we moved into their celebrations of the day, and taking portraits. As I worked to capture their Wedding Portraits I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. When we slipped away from guests briefly, any moment in each other’s presence was filled with stolen moments of tenderness, romance, and confessions of their undying love. I tried to work as quietly as possible, letting them be natural, and enjoy their moments together.

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In between stolen moments together, Yvonne and Martin also made plenty of time for their children, and their nieces and nephews, making sure all the kids felt loved, special, and a big part of their day.

ron Goat Canmore Wedding

The lively humour of this pair filled the day with laughter. Their sparkling hilarity is bound to ensure their marriage is full of fun, and zest.

Wedding Portraits at the Iron Goat, Canmore, AB

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But as much as they love a good joke and a laugh, they are willing to embrace, and feel all their raw emotions, including sadness, and loss, as Yvonne and her family grieved for her father who is no longer with us, unable to share in this happy day. In a very heartfelt moment, Yvonne’s uncle stepped up in his place to give her the father-daughter dance.

Canmore Wedding

It was truly an honour to be part of this day. And nice for me also, to reconnect with friends from our hometown now seen in a very long time.

I wish you both the very best, a lifetime of joy and happiness!

 

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+ four = 13

Hike at Curley Sands-Mesa Butte Provincial Park-Kananaskis Country

On Sunday, at Brodie’s suggestion, and because it was on our summer bucket list, our family went for a hike in K-country.

We’ve lived here for eight years, and have not explored very many hiking trails, or the back country, literally out our backdoor, so it’s high time for us to start taking in some of these hikes.

We definitely want to climb Square Butte (Mesa Butte), the namesake of our community and area. But we’ll need to work up to it, so our hike around Curley Sands was a good place to start, to condition our youngest David, so hopefully he can handle the bigger hike later this summer.

The day was cool, which was nice, and the breeze kept the bugs at bay. As we climbed, with an elevation gain of 500 ft, we enjoyed all the beautiful sights of forest, meadow, hills, and valleys. We saw a family of grouse, which was really neat to see, as they flushed up from the forest floor. The brilliant blue of a  Robin’s eggshell marked the spot on the trail where David had to stop and leave his stick collection behind, as he could no longer carry all of them.

I loved all the wildflowers in such abundance and variety, that greeted us at every turn on the trail. I’ve been in love with wildflowers ever since I was a little girl. I study them endlessly, pouring over books to learn the names and qualities,of each one.

The riot of colour popping out from the meadows had my shutter finger going off constantly. When we stopped for a picnic, Brodie took an interest in photography (much to my delight) and captured a few wildflower images of his own!

Three Flowered Avens wildflower

Three Flowered Avens reminds me of Troll dolls.

Wild Bergamot wildflower

The lovely purple Wild Bergamot.

Wild Bumblebee on Northern Crane's-Bill

I love this Wild Bumblebee on Northern Crane’s-Bill. It’s wings are moving so fast, they are blurred in this shot.

Fleabane wildflower

Fleabane

Blanketflower wildflowers

I think everyone loves the sunny yellow Blanketflower! You can’t resist them.

Paintbrush wildflowers

The vibrant reds of the Paintbrush wildflowers popped out at us from everywhere.

Hiking Curley Sands trail K-country

My men, checking out a butterfly.

Wood Lily wildfower

Stunning Wood Lilies rose from the forest floor.

views from Curley Sands trail K-country

Views from Curley Sands Trail.

 

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4 × = four

Spectacular Fireworks at the Calgary Canada Day Celebrations

Last nights’ fireworks show at the Centre Street Bridge in Calgary was truly awesome. For us small town, born and raised people it was the best we’ve ever seen. For our kids, it was the first fireworks show they’d ever seen. An epic experience for them, that will be hard to match.

Growing up, I remember watching events like this on TV, and wishing I could just once be there for the fun. And yet, my husband and I, often shy away from crowded events in the city, knowing all the situations and eventualities that must be braved. But our oldest son, Brodie, really wanted to see fireworks in the city, and have a train ride. So we braved it for him, to give him a Canada Day he’ll never forget.

And it was, for all of us.

The city in the summer is so alive and electric. We enjoyed the people watching, and all the sights and sounds. Buskers, food vendors, and our favourite was the guy covered in silver paint and clothing, who looked like a statue riding by on a skateboard.

We don’t come downtown very often, so I attempted to do a bit of architecture photography. I’d never been up close to the Bow Building. It is quite a marvel. And the sculpture in front was fun to hang off of.

Bow Building Calgary

Bow Building Calgary

The kids had fun playing glow stick swords, and eating ice cream while we sat in the grass and waited for the show to start.

I’m sure my images don’t do justice to how amazing these fireworks actually were. I loved how the fire, as it descended from the sky, seemed like magic, like you could reach up and touch it.

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Afterward, getting out of the city centre proved to be quite a challenge, as the throngs of Canada Day revellers all pushed and scrambled to take the C-Train home, or to the next party. Our poor little dears were exhausted, and fading fast, as we wondered if would ever get back to our vehicle at the edge of town. Crammed trains, stalled trains, as some issue was sorted out, and then finally a kind police officer took us under his wing, and promised us he’d get us on the next (and last) train. He ushered us along the platform, and gave us some useful train riding tips that every savvy family must know (that we country people did not know). Don’t wait at the end of the platform with all the partiers- go the middle, where the other families are waiting. Then-go for the middle car (not the end car). It worked! We got on, and finally on our way! (Much to our relief).

Our experiences at the end of the day proved us right on why we seldom brave the city and crowds with our young children. And yet, even though they were exhausted, the boys both agreed it was worth the effort and ordeal to see such an epic fireworks display-“the awesomest ever!”

Calgary Canada Day Fireworks

 

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9 × = eighteen

Grad Portraits for the Lovely Grads of Holy Trinity Academy {Okotoks, AB}

Yesterday I had the privilege of capturing Grad Portraits for some of the lovely ladies graduating Holy Trinity Academy in Okotoks. These lovely girls braved the scorching heat to give me a few minutes of their time, on what was clearly a very exciting day. I’m so glad each of them was able to spare a few moments in between hairstyling, make-up, and several stops to show off their dazzling dresses.

I started with my friends’ daughter, Kristen, at the Okotoks Public Library. The library grounds offered us some much needed shade beneath the canopy of trees, as we captured a variety of Grad Portraits of Kristen (who was quite warm in her dress, but she happily obliged her mother and I.)

Working in such a public location offered a few challenges, such as the group of young boys who were taking in our session, and no doubt checking out Kristen in all her finery (she was a bit self conscious, and glad when they finally left us;)

Okotoks Grad Portraits

Perhaps the bubbles can represent all the many dreams and opportunities Kristen will strive for, now that she will go on to the next chapter of her life.

Okotoks Grad Portraits

We loved how the colour of the flowers matched Kristen’s dress.

Okotoks Grad Portraits

No portrait session at the Okotoks Public Library is complete without a portrait on the footbridge.

Okotoks Grad Portraits

We then went to the home of one of Kristen’s friends’, to meet up with the rest of her party. I was able to capture a few group portraits, and a few individual portraits of each girl, to showcase their lovely Prom Dresses, and celebrate their momentous achievement.

Okotoks Grad Group Portraits

This was a challenging opportunity to put my skills to the test, as I spent no more than 3 minutes with each girl.

Kaelyn has the most beautiful eyes.

Okotoks Prom Portraits

I love the celebration of heritage, culture, and her roots that this stunning girl choose to showcase in her brilliant prom attire.

Okotoks Grad Portraits

I love this demure, classic beauty, whose look brings us back to the timeless style of the 1940’s. But if her gorgeous style wasn’t enough, we were all completely blown away by the fact that she made her dress herself!! What talent! Absolutely amazing! Check out all the lace details, and the train! I hope your talent, creativity, and style will take you far!

Okotoks Prom Portraits

This lovely gal had the most beautiful hair!

Okotoks Grad Portraits

At last their Limo arrived to take them to their banquet in Calgary!

Okotoks Grads Candid Portraits Okotoks Grads Candid Portraits

Thank you for letting me share your day! My very best wishes to all you lovely Holy Trinity Grads! Best of luck as you pursue your goals and dreams!

 

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seven × = 42

Epic Swarm Catch near Longview, AB

Last night was truly memorable. And although It wasn’t technically a swarm catch, it was definitely an experience. The actual swarm had happened a few days earlier, and had found a home in an old abandoned schoolhouse building. We believe it was the old Hartell Schoolhouse, located a few kilometres North of Longview.

A local family had recently moved onto the property, and their house was only a few feet away from the old schoolhouse, so they were concerned about a whole nest of bees living in such close proximity to their home. So they called us to see if we’d be willing to try and remove the bees from their nest inside the wall.

After a bit of discussion, Josh decided to give it a try. The family agreed that it would be ok for Josh to remove a bit of the drywall inside the building to get at the bees. From the location of the hole on the outside of the schoolhouse, Josh hoped he’d be able to easily find their location inside the wall.

After a bit of Gyproc was removed, it was clear that the bees were exactly where we hoped they’d be. And what a lot of bees there were. A massive colony had stared a new home in the wall. 10,000+ bees make quite a loud buzzing noise, and were a bit annoyed at being removed from their nest. A bit of smoke calmed them a bit, and their removal, and relocation into a new hive box went surprisingly well.

collecting a bee swarm

It became apparent that this location had been inhabited by a large colony of bees before. There was abundant old brood comb from several years before, but not much honey to speak of, indicating that this was a new swarm that had moved in.

At one point while Josh was very busy removing bees and comb, and had a large chunk full of bees in his hand, the ladder slipped, and he dropped a few feet to the ledge below. Luckily Josh wasn’t hurt, and the bees survived alright too.

A stray dustpan was a good find, to help remove the bees from the wall. Our new friends were very brave, and excited to take part in all the bee collecting action. I believe they each were stung once, but survived it quite well. Surprisingly, Josh and I were not stung at all. Josh thought the bees were behaving quite well, despite the ordeal. He thought they were likely tired from their recent swarm flight, and hadn’t had too much to eat in the past few days.

beekeeper collecting a swarm checking for the queen bee removing honeybees from an abandoned schoolhouse removing honeybees from an abandoned schoolhouse bees on brood comb

While we adults were busy collecting bees from the schoolhouse, our children made fast friends. Brodie and David were so excited to have two new playmates, and enjoyed exploring  around their home with them. The feeling was mutual. It was so much fun watching the children play together, as if they were old friends. It reminded me so much of my own childhood, when an impromptu outing became spontaneous, and enchanting, the fun of the evening feeling like it will go on forever.

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We let the bees settle down for a bit, as we all enjoyed a visit. It was a lovely evening.

After the bees had settled, Josh took them outside, so they would not try to go back into the wall. In the better light he searched for the queen. It didn’t take too long, before she was found. Wonderful news! We now get to add an entire hive worth of bees to our apiary.

beekeeper looking for the queen

 

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two × = 10

Bubbly Baby Fun near Millarville, AB

Yesterday was Baby K’s ten month portrait session in his year long series of Watch Me Grow portraits. I think it was one of his favourite sessions ever;) It’s been so much fun capturing portraits of Baby K, and it’s hard to believe he’s already ten months old. Time really does fly with little ones.

Baby K came out to my home studio near Millarville, with his mom and sister, to enjoy my gorgeous view, and have it included as the scenic backdrop for their portraits. We’re so fortunate to live in such a beautiful spot in the foothills, and I’m always more than happy to include this spectacular scenery in my clients portraits.

We were only able to capture a few portraits of Baby K with his mom and big sister, before he gave us some challenges. It was already well above 20 degrees on this fabulous June morning , and our little star was already thirsty and hungry. But after a quick drink and snack, he was ready for action again.

Foothills Children's portraits

Baby K and Big Sister S were my first friends to try out our new swing, that my husband and father-in-law set up this past weekend. They seemed to really enjoy it.

Millarville children's portraits

Baby K was getting fussy again, so we moved onto our Grand Finale, rustic portraits in the tub. I’d had this old galvanized tub for years, and had patiently waited for the perfect day to use it in a child’s portrait session. Baby K’s mom was certain it would be a hit, as her little man loves baths, and water.

We had thought that a clothes line in the background would make a great addition to our scene. Baby K’s mom had the wonderful idea of including some of his special outfits from this past year on the clothes line. Some of the keepsake outfits displayed on the clothesline were Baby K’s dad’s, when he was a baby.

Of all Baby K’s sessions, I believe this one was his favourite. He was thrilled to have an outdoor bubble bath to play in. He giggled and laughed as he splashed in his tub. Big sister S joined in to give him a wash. The bubbly fun lasted for quite some time.

Millarville baby portraits foothills children's portraits Candid baby portraits

 

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9 × = forty five

The Calgary Zoo Through a Child’s Eyes

Yesterday my son’s preschool class went for a field trip to the Calgary Zoo. It had been years since we’d went, the last time being in 2011, when David was just a baby.

It’s always so awesome to see the kids so enthralled and excited about the animals.

Our first stop was to see the Penguins. This was new to us, and we enjoyed it immensely. The Penguins were so much fun to watch, as they were fed their morning meal. They jumped off the rocks, swam in the water, and called out to each other. It was neat to see so many species of penguins co-existing together. These included the Humboldt Penguins from South America, the Rockhopper Penguins with their funky yellow crest, the Gentoo Penguins, and of course the sleek and beautiful King Penguins from Antarctica.

Penguins at the Calgary ZooKids are always amazed by dinosaurs, and my David is one of the biggest dinosaur enthusiasts around, so a walk through the Prehistoric Park was a must. The animatronic dinosaurs were quite life like, and David was so excited to see these creatures that occupy his imagination so predominantly, come to life.

Prehistoric Park at the Calgary Zoo

After our trip through the prehistoric past, and a break for lunch, we all needed a warm up in the African Savannah, as the day was very chilly. The hippopotamus has such a comical face, and was really enjoying a drink of water from the hose, before diving back into his tank.

Hippo at the Calgary Zoo

We took note of how the zebras really do have individual, and unique markings.

This was the first time I’d seen the lions put on such a good show. This male particularly was posing very majestically, and I loved the photo op.

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The African rainforest warmed our chilly bodies again, as we had a look at the West African Dwarf Crocodile. David loves reptiles, and loved seeing a real crocodile up close.

The gorillas put on a good show for us, coming up so close that you’d almost be able to touch them, if it weren’t for the glass. We watched them roll, play, eat, and at one point the large male silverback made a brief appearance, impressing us with his massive size.

Gorillas at the Calgary Zoo

Little pre-school girls love everything pink, so of course the Flamingos were a hit for them.

Flamingos at the Calgary Zoo

The Butterfly Conservatory exhibit was one of my favourites. I could have easily spent hours getting lost in the beautiful details of each and every flower, but alas it was nearing the end of our visit, so I only had a few brief moments to capture a few images flowers and butterflies.

Calgary Zoo Conservatory flowers

The Zoo is such a wonderful place for the young and old alike to observe many beautiful creatures that we would otherwise never see. Experiencing the wonder of a place like the Zoo through the eyes of young children makes the trip that much more enjoyable.

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two + = 3

An Afternoon with our Busy Bees

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day, and the first warm day after a spell of cold, rainy, and snowy weather, here in the Foothills. The first day the bees could fly, and forage in three days.

And forage they did, on the ever emerging fields of dandelions, at our home near Millarville.

I know to many dandelions are a scourge, something to be battled, and poisoned, but to those of us who keep bees, we welcome the bright, sunny flowers, which in May and June are a huge source of pollen and nectar for the bees, that they need an abundance of.

The bees use the abundant pollen from dandelions to raise their young, feeding the larva.

I’m overcoming my own bee fears, as I learn more about these fascinating creatures from my husband.

Our yard was abuzz yesterday afternoon, so I lay down in the grass, (with a distinct possibility of getting stung, as the bees were everywhere) and attempted to capture the bees in action.

I just love this picture of this girl covered in pollen- pure gold for the bees.

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They collect large loads of pollen to bring back to their hive, in pouches on their legs. You can see the orange pockets on this bee, as she gathers her load of pollen.

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We then visited Josh’s new bee yard, as he’d been having trouble with one of his new package bee hives, and wanted to check if the new queen he’d put in had been released.

I suited up also, and was pleased to discover that I could still operate my camera with gloves and a beekeepers veil on. Being in the bee yard made me quite nervous when I did it for the first time a few weeks ago. This time my comfort level had increased considerably. I even had bees crawling all over me (apparently, you’re not supposed to stand directly in front of their entrance, which I was doing as I photographed).

Here is Josh using the smoker to calm the bees a bit before he opens the hive.

beekeeper in the MD of Foothills

beehive

Here is a frame with the Queen Bee. She is the longer, darker coloured one, near the edge.

Queen Bee in hive

All was well, as she had been released, and has been laying eggs. The next generation of bees will soon arrive!

One Response to “An Afternoon with our Busy Bees”

  1. jolene

    Wow! You captured this so well!
    We don’t try to get rid of our dandelions and now I’m really glad we don’t!

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three − 1 =

Easter Promises and Blessings

Today, on Easter Sunday, I was so blessed to be asked to attend, and capture images of Baby K’s Baptism at the beautiful, historic Christ Church Anglican Church, near Millarville.

I’ve already shared so many wonderful moments with Baby K and his family, as I’ve been chronicling his first year with Watch Me Grow Portraits, but today was truly a blessing.

Nothing could be more beautiful or perfect than this young life being dedicated to God on Easter Sunday, as we all celebrated the Divine gift of God’s love, forgiveness, hope, and the Easter message.

I was so glad I could share Baby K’s Baptism today, along with another couple being Baptized.

Easter Blessings Everyone!

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

Christchurch Anglican Millarville

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two + = 8