London Ontario Maternity Photographer | Leili

The lovely Leili is the photographer behind Leili Heidema Photography in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories (which just so happens to be a place my husband and I have always dreamed of visiting together!). When she contacted me about doing maternity photos for her and her husband during their short London visit, my heart skipped a beat. It is always such an honour when another photographer chooses me to capture their memories, and maternity photography is my favourite.

We met in a quaint little organic cafe before heading out to an overgrown field. It threatened to rain during the entire session, but the first drop didn’t fall until we were saying our goodbyes – talk about perfect timing! Leili and her husband are simply adorable, and I had so much fun hanging out with them. Leili – thank you so much for trusting me with documenting this very special milestone for your family. I wish you the very best as you prepare to welcome your little bundle! xo

The Mama Journal | An Open Letter To The Mom Who Yelled At Me Today

Dear mom-who-yelled-at-me-out-the-car-window-as-you-drove-by-today, hello. We haven’t been formally introduced yet (though you definitely broke the ice!) – I’m Sophie.

First of all, let me just say that I hope you were on your way to the nearest Starbucks drive-thru, because it seems like you’re having a bit of a stressful morning. I mean who yells at random people as they drive by? If I could have, i would have slipped you a dollar so you could add a little whipped cream to your drink – something to turn that frown upside down.

I have to admit I was a little taken aback that you actually rolled down your window to yell at me that my child needed a hat. Because again, who does that? But let me assure you that if you are the new leader of the MMSS Brigade (Mean Moms for Sun Safety), you picked the wrong target. I’m actually pretty obsessive about my fair skinned, light-haired child wearing a hat outside, and before I realized how terrible the ingredients in sunscreen really are, I was all about the highest SPF in town. Now I generally opt for more natural SPF protectors, but it’s still a top priority. So you see, mean-mom, you kind of wasted your breath on me. Because I’m with you sister, sun safety is important. But, that’s neither here nor there now, is it. Because this post really isn’t about sun safety. It’s about moms. Mean moms, to be specific.

I’m just assuming that you are indeed a mom. Because sadly, these days it seems only a mom would feel so entitled to put down another random mom out of the blue. It’s kind of what a lot of moms do. Whether it’s on internet forums, at the park, or – apparently – while driving by. It’s a sad reality that I quickly was introduced to as a new mama. I came to realize that everything is cause for war, debate and belittling- everything from your method of delivery to whether or not you vaccinate your kids to what your child wears to the park. Can I be real with you for a minute, mom-who-yelled-at-me? I’m so over the mama-wars. Motherhood rocks. It really does. We’re all different women, with different children, making different decisions. And I really wish that we could just stand united on the common ground that we love our kids to the moon and back instead of pointing out each other’s flaws.

You’re right, mom-who-yelled-at-me-today, my daughter should have been wearing a hat. But here’s what you didn’t know.

We had been outside for an hour. My 21-month-old daughter had a hat on for 55 of those 60 minutes. In fact, on the way to the park, when my little one decided the hat was lame, I took the time to elaborately explain why we have to wear our hat outside,  and by the time we reached the park, she had learned the phrase “soleil bobo tete, chapeau tete” – which is a simple French way of saying “sun hurts head, hat head”. And the hat stayed on. Win! 1 point for me! We spent the next 45 minutes playing at the park, and then decided it was time to walk back home. Did I mention my daughter chose to push her toy stroller (containing a purse, two stuffed animals and a few other toys) to the park? Well, a few seconds before you drove by and schooled me, she decided she was done. She was done pushing the stroller. Done walking. Done wearing her coat. And yes, done wearing her hat. She was hungry. She was tired. She was over our little outing.  And no amount of reasoning, singing, hugs and distracting her with birds and cars was helping anymore. Isn’t it great when that happens on a street corner, in front of all the neighbours? I’m sure you’ve been there, mom-who-yelled-at-me, because we all have. I knew that it was a pretty big accomplishment for my under-two-year-old to have pushed that stroller all the way to the park and 3/4 of the way back. I knew it was lunch time. I knew she was tired. And  you see, mom-who-yelled-at-me, I’m the kind of mom that likes to pick her battles – maybe you are too. When you drove by and saw me carrying a stroller full of toys and a hatless toddler – it wasn’t my finest mama moment. But I was just happy I managed to keep her coat on. And here’s what I knew, that you didn’t. We were 6 houses away from home. 6 houses. I figured that 45 hatless seconds would be ok. Because even though we care about sun safety, we’re also big fans of vitamin D and feeling the wind in our hair. And we also know that sometimes, all that really matters is getting your cranky kid home before all H-E-double-hockey-stick breaks loose on the street corner.

So you see, mom-who-yelled-at-me-today, not only was your rant pointless and misguided, it was also mean. I was already feeling pretty embarrassed and exasperated about the whole situation. And to be honest, your words stung. Next time you see a mama struggling on a street corner to carry a giant  cranky toddler and a stroller full of toys home, instead of yelling out to point out what she’s doing wrong, why don’t you slow down and ask if she needs help? Or tell her you’ve been there. Or, just keep driving. And mind your own business. But stop being mean. Because how are we ever going to teach our children that bullying is wrong when mamas all over do it all  the time? We’re all in this together, and quite frankly I’d much rather sip a mimosa with you and laugh about all of our hilariously exasperating mama stories than engage in this never-ending mama war.

Sincerely,

Sophie

xo

p.s.: this wouldn’t be a mama journal post without a few cute photos – so here are a few I snapped last night just as David arrived home from work (we were waiting at the window!).  And if someone points out that Neve isn’t wearing a hat, I might cry. lol

London Ontario Portrait Photographer | Natalie at Sunset

Last week, I spontaneously texted my lovely friend Natalie about checking out a new possible location, and… let’s just say one thing led to another. We ended up photographing each other and soaking up the gorgeous golden sunlight… the kind of light that makes a photographer’s heart skip a beat. What started as a few test shots turned into mini headshot sessions, and it was so fun to photograph (and be photographed by) someone as passionate about golden hour photography as I am. (picture us mildly freaking out over the perfect light, and frantically taking turns shooting each other… “Ok, just one last shot…. no I lied, just one more… hold on… okay your turn…” — so much fun!)

You can see the shots Natalie took of me on her blog, and read her thoughts on networking with other local photographers. I have to say, I couldn’t agree more. This idea that local photographers should be at each other’s throats is just silly. I’ve never been the competitive type (I can’t even be fully happy when my favourite teams win, because I’m always feeling bad for the losing team), and quite frankly I’d much rather sip coffee with my “colleagues” and laugh about crazy #photographerlife stories than walk solo and try to “beat the competition”. It has been so refreshing and wonderful to get to know this girl on both a business and personal level over the past year, and I’m so thankful she’s in my life. While on paper, I suppose we are each other’s “competition”, the reality is that we are each other’s biggest fan, and her support means the world to me.

Ok, enough sentimental gushing. Here are some photos of the GORGEOUS Natalie Young, who by the way is carrying TWINS! :)

xo

The Mama Journal | Everyday Beauty

This week has been difficult for me on an emotional level. I’ve never been to Boston or Texas, and yet I shed real tears upon hearing the news of the recent tragic events that took place in these cities. Tears that shook me to the core. My heart broke over and over again for the lives that were lost and the countless others that were forever changed. I’m typically a pretty positive person, but this week has been a difficult one to navigate. I don’t just turn on the news, turn it off, go to bed and forget. Perhaps that’s why I tend to avoid the news in general. I internalize all the sadness and it’s hard for me to “turn it off” and go about my daily life without being, well… sad.  There is always something terrible happening, and it would be easy for me to live in a perpetual state of heartbreak. And yet, I don’t want to remove myself completely from the injustices and tragedies of this world so that I become disconnected and ignorant. It’s a tricky balance – one that I haven’t mastered – to maintain perspective by regularly putting oneself in another’s shoes while still knowing how to appreciate the familiar comforts and celebrate the beauty of one’s own shoes. Does that make any sense at all?

Regardless – There was no escaping it this week – it was everywhere I turned, even in my news-free bubble. So this week has been about striving to see the tangible beauty in my everyday world of home while my heart aches for the pain felt elsewhere in the world. I’ve gathered a small collection of everyday simplicities, sweet moments of childhood experienced with my girl over the past few weeks, that I just wanted to share here. I am so thankful for these beautiful moments that happen even when the world seems to be falling apart. And I am aware more than ever to hold on to them and cherish them, because they can be taken away all too soon.

-xo

Daily book time – Her favourite.

 

Watching at the window, waiting for Papa to get home for dinner.

 

Coming full-circle – bathing her baby in the bath she used to fit in

 

An official introduction to sidewalk chalk on a stormy Saturday morning.

London Ontario Photographer | News – The London Family Lifestyle Show

Wow, I can’t believe the Family Lifestyle Show is only 2 days away! This will be my first trade show, and I couldn’t be more excited! If you come visit me at my booth, you can enter for your chance to win a FREE session. There are going to be plenty of amazing local vendors, and there is so much free entertainment for the children scheduled all throughout the day! Speaking of FREE – There is no admission cost, so bring the whole family!

I really hope to see you there. I just picked up the 6.5 ft banner and other goodies I had printed up and I am so excited to be publicly displaying my work for the very first time.

Where? Best Western Lamplighter Inn

When? Sunday April 14th – 10-4

More info? Click here.  Or here.

See you there! :)

London Ontario Maternity Photographer | Bun in the Oven – The Big Announcement

I met Allison a few days before she found out she was pregnant with her first child – sweet Alexis – who has appeared before my lens countless times now (lucky me!). When I found out bebe #2 was on the way, I was ECSTATIC. I love this little family so dearly, and couldn’t be happier for my beautiful friend. Allison wanted to do something creative for her pregnancy announcement, so we snuck these in before our little lifestyle session a few weeks ago.

I just can’t wait to meet this little “bun”! xoxo

 

Project Ten | April (Books)

While my first thought was to style something pretty with beautiful antique books, I decided to take a different route with this theme. As much as the artist in me sometimes craves the challenge and delight of styling a session to perfection, it’s my love of raw emotion, real moments and everyday simplicities that has always been the driving force behind my photography, and I wanted to capture our  real, everyday experience with books. I wanted to document my girl and her stacks of used, brightly coloured, unattractive, ripped and faded children’s books – many purchased second-hand at a library sale. Paperback corners folded, board book corners chewed up, reminiscent of those first few teeth that would chomp everything in sight. These are the books that are strewn across our floor everyday. These are the books that my daughter holds dear and knows by heart. These are the books that bring me and my girl together every single day as we go through piles of them, reading familiar rhymes, pointing out favourite illustrations, snuggling close. These are the books that are opening my child’s eyes to the world beyond our home, introducing her to the beautiful experience of losing yourself in a favourite story and daydreaming of faraway lands and imaginary characters. And so these are the books I photographed on a quiet morning with soft light streaming through the patio door as my barefoot girl indulged in her daily ritual. -xo

Please don’t forget to follow the blog circle to see how the lovely ladies at Jessica Downey Photo, Red Rubber Studio and Alana Harris Photography interpreted this month’s theme. First up, Julianna from Red Rubber Studio.

London Ontario Family Lifestyle Photographer | Alexis and Mama at Home

I love the warm glow of the rising/setting sun and a whimsical outdoor location just as much as the next photographer, but there is always something so special and inspiring about being invited into a family’s home to document them in their element. Allison is a dear friend of mine, and I’ve had the privilege of photographing her sweet little family fairly regularly over the years. Alexis is four years old now, and as lovely as ever. I came over one Saturday morning (while her daddy was out golfing) to photograph some quality mama/daughter bonding time. They whipped up some chocolate chip cookies together and then headed to the big bed for books and snuggles (the best!). I love how Alexis chose to wear her beautiful dress for a baking session. Allison and I laughed about it as she tied her festive apron over her fancy outfit. Gotta love a four year old fashionista. Enjoy these photos! -xo