Category Archives: Community

Bonding Through Breastfeeding, A Photo Essay

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One of the most unexpectedly fascinating parts of becoming a grown up has been watching many of my peers become parents. My little sister and most of my close female friends are now mothers. I love seeing the diverse ways they choose to raise their children. Parenthood has brought about new characteristics, new strengths, weaknesses, new insights and new joys in each of them.

I can recall a recent conversation with a high school friend, mother to a beautiful 6 month old baby girl, where she said something like, “I had always heard that breastfeeding created a special bond between mother and child, and I thought I knew what it was going to be like, but really I had no idea what it would be like.” She was amazed at the depth of the bond that this relationship created between her and her baby.

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Not every mother is physically capable of breastfeeding her child. As far as I’m concerned, any parent that is keeping their baby healthy by feeding it a whole bunch of times every single day is doing a great job. Some of my friends used formula, some dedicated moms pumped every 3 hours for months on end to provide the benefits of breast milk to their offspring, and some lucky women have the natural ability to provide sustenance directly from their bodies. For those who are able, it seems to me that breastfeeding has been a blessing. Besides the practicality of having portable infant food that is naturally fortified to provide exactly what your particular child requires, there’s also the added benefit of strengthening the bond between parent and child. Babies that are breastfeed are for the most part, healthy and content, and I’m happy to be able to share imagery that helps normalize this practice.

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When another friend of mine who is also a longtime client had a baby girl of her own in the spring of 2015, she too discovered that breastfeeding was a way to get to know her baby. She is determined to enjoy the process of becoming a mother and wanted to document the activity that had been such a comfort to her and her daughter in the first months after Miss R. was born.

The images in this blog post are lifestyle type pictures that we captured together one cold winter day. They are pictures that are deeply personal, but also important to share.

I’ll let Kate explain why in her own words.

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“Breastfeeding. I had no idea how much this simple act of nourishment and comfort would mean to me, or how much it would bring to my relationship with Rory. When she was tiny, it was the only way she’d sleep (which is incredibly healthy and normal!). As she grew, it was the magical substance and space that helped her get well when she was sick. It’s a sure bet to calm her and make her feel safe as she tumbles around exploring the world and her body’s abilities. And now, it’s the first thing she asks for when she’s had a mommy-less day at daycare. My body is amazing. It provides not just physical, but emotional and mental nourishment for my child.

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But breastfeeding can be really, really hard. Not just at the beginning when mum and babe are learning the whole dance of latching and positions and milk flow. It’s hard when they hit the age of distraction and won’t stay latched because everything else in the world is too interesting. It’s hard when you’ve been woken up for the umpteenth time that night and the boob is the only thing to put babe back into a sweet slumber. It’s hard when they are teething and bite your nipples like a little chew toy (and yes, there’s been blood!). It’s hard when you have to go back to work and begin to wean babe from the one thing that has brought you both so much comfort and countless hours of slumber. And, at any stage in your breastfeeding journey, it’s ESPECIALLY hard when you are out in public and babe needs/wants to nurse, yet you are fearful of the ridicule, stares or gestures from strangers.

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Public breastfeeding is something that I am very comfortable with. Not just because it’s the best (and easiest) thing for our family, but because it’s a movement I believe wholeheartedly in. It’s important to me to do all I can to help normalize breastfeeding, in real life and on social media!

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To commemorate my journey (one that I do hope will continue for quite some time yet), the amazing Emily Beatty Lister came and did a photoshoot with Rory and I nearly 7 months ago. I wanted to have something to remember this indescribable bond, and both tender and hilarious moments that Rory and I share when breastfeeding. Still to this day, the way she looks at me when latched; the way she can simultaneously eat and smile; the way she places my hands on her body and face; the way she plays with my fingers and face; the way she squeezes my breast with love, anticipation and fulfillment…all of it stops time for me and reminds me to be fully present with my child. It reminds me what a good job I am doing raising her, and how far we have come. Such powerful and important lessons.

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Raising a daughter in a world that sexualizes girls and teaches them from a young age that their value lies in their bodies and appearances is scary, but something I know I can counter by intentionally parenting a fierce, smart, aware little gal. Normalizing breastfeeding and desexualizing breasts is just a part of this process. For me, for Rory, for Steve…for all other mums and daughters and kids and partners. And so, I share .”

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Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful insights, Kate.

I’m looking forward to many more photo shoots with you and Miss Rory as she grows.

Want more resources regarding breastfeeding in our community? You can start here.

 

 

Picture Perfect Pumpkins at Nauman’s Farm in St. Clements

_EBI4924Emily_Beatty_2014_*Since becoming a full time photographer, my new favourite seasonal tradition is selecting the most photogenic pumpkins in the patch for my annual Halloween minis. I think its an odd genetic trait passed down from my mother. For some reason, we both get strangely enthusiastic about decorative produce.

Three years ago my friend Jessi introduced me to Nauman Farm in St. Clements and I have taken my camera and left with a carload full of squash, gourds, and pumpkins every year since. What I like about Nauman’s is the extensive variety of seasonal produce that they have available. Every year there are new types of squash and pumpkins that I’ve never seen before. If you’re got the time, there’s also an extensive corn maze, and a pretty sweet selection of baked goods and local specialties like honey and summer sausage._EBI7316Emily_Beatty_2014_*

This year, I would like to thank my friend Susan for accompanying me to the pumpkin patch, and for doing all the heavy lifting, and for looking so darn stylish while doing it.

We visited the farm on a cloudy Thursday afternoon just before closing time, and apparently timed it just right. Bumping our way down the lengthy lane way leading back to the city, we paused to admire a subtle sunset that made the surrounding fall foliage glow and illuminated rows upon rows of pumpkins laid out in the fields. Only moments away from the farm, I found myself looking forward to next year’s visit. I know it will be here again before I know it!_EBI3119Emily_Beatty_2014_*_EBI5037edit-orange-pumpkin_*_EBI3031Emily_Beatty_2014_**_EBI5056pumpkins1_**_EBI7340Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI7379Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI7398Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI5073Emily_Beatty_2014_*_EBI3118Emily_Beatty_2014_*_EBI7367Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI7381Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI3046Emily_Beatty_2014_**_EBI7345Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI7349Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI7375Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*_EBI7314Emily_Beatty_2014_*_EBI7372Emily_Beatty_2014_Naumans_Farm_*

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Happy Halloween, Canada!

Canadian_Halloween_Flag_Emily_Beatty_webIt’s finally here, my favourite holiday. HAPPY HAPPY HALLOWEEN from E.R. Bunnicula and EBI !

I spent most of the day frantically Photoshopping festive montages for clients, friends and family, then I took a few hours off to go trick or treating with my sister’s 3 little ones in Elmira. One of the best parts of being an auntie is having a good reason to dress up and act silly on October 31st. I was super grumpy driving out there, but our family traditions cheered me right up and on the way home, I caught myself smiling as I waited for trick or treaters to cross the road. _EBI8890edit_web

 

I’m going to spend the rest of my evening watching Hocus Pocus AGAIN and blogging about the pumpkin patch and Halloween Minis.

This dress was custom made for my figure by the awesome ladies at Delirium Clothing on King St. in Uptown Waterloo.

This dress was custom made for my figure by the awesome ladies at Delirium Clothing on King St. in Uptown Waterloo.

What’s your favourite Halloween movie? I need some recommendations, let me know in the comments!

 

Steckle Heritage Farm’s Third Annual Easter Egg Hunt

EasterEggHunt2014_EBI5002edit_*WMtitleThis past Friday, two hundred children and their parents participated in Steckle Heritage Farm‘s most successful Easter event yet. Now in its third year, the hunt has steadily grown in popularity. In fact, the Steckle team was prepared for a full house after registrations for the 2014 hunt crashed their website almost immediately after it was announced. Fortunately, thanks to some good planning, everybody was happy and cooperative during the hunt and each participant enjoyed an assortment of treats as well as fun farm activities.

The feedback I heard from parents this year has been overwhelmingly positive. From the hunt to the crafts to petting all kinds of baby animals and the DIY photobooth that I provided for parents to use, the crowd agrees, this year’s Easter Egg Hunt at Steckle Heritage Farm was a great time for all involved. Despite grey skies and a little bit of rain towards the end of the second hunt, everyone that came out left with a basket of sweets and a smile_EBI5200edit_*.

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SteckleEggHunt_EBI5016edit_*Thanks to all of the Steckle staff and my fellow volunteers for making this Easter Egg Hunt such a memorable occasion. Happy Easter!!!

Full Gallery of 2014 KW Polar Plunge Pictures

Making A Splash for A Good CauseKW_Polar_Plunge_2014_Emily_Beatty_Imagery

It was a brave crowd that came out for the third annual KW Polar Plunge on Saturday February 22nd, 2014. This fun and dramatic community event is the pride and joy of founder Greg Lehman, who started it three years ago after losing a bet. Participants including Greg collect donations from sponsors, and then dress up and jump into freezing water to support KidsAbility, and the families that benefit from their services.

The numbers are in, and this year’s event raised $7,816.75, all of which will go directly to the KidsAbility facility in Waterloo. KidsAbility is a terrific organization that “empowers children & youth with special needs to realize their full potential through life-changing therapy and support services”._EBI7043edit_web

This winter has been the coldest on record for many years, and those who took the plunge deserve a lot of credit for boldly jumping into a COLD kiddie pool on a day that hovered right around zero degrees. The rest of us were awfully grateful to be bundled up in boots, hats and jackets that were a bit more appropriate for the middle of winter in Canada. I think every one of us in Waterloo Town Square that day was glad that the event was rescheduled from the original January 25th date due to dangerously cold temperatures. Zero Celsius is pretty cold– but it could have been worse!Polar_Plunge_KW_2014

As always, it is the volunteers, community sponsors, and local businesses that made this event such a success. Thanks to Nom Nom Treats, Hogg Heating and Air Conditioning, KFUN 99.5FM, 105.3 KOOL FM, Soul Awakenings Yoga Boutique, Spike Creative Solutions, Bre Creative, Bright Water Services, Boston Pizza, Beertown, and everyone else that made a splash at this year’s KW Polar Plunge.

If you’re looking for a quick rundown of the events, check out my previous blog post about the 2014 event. If you want the full story, keep scrolling down to view all of the event photos from this year’s Polar Plunge.

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The delightful team that organized the 2014 KW Polar Plunge.

The delightful team that organized the 2014 KW Polar Plunge.

Thanks to the Hogg Hot House for once again keeping our Plungers warm(ish).

Thanks to the Hogg Hot House for once again keeping our Plungers warm(ish).nom_nom_treats_KW_Polar_Plunge

Bre Creative always makes time to volunteer for community events.

Bre Creative always makes time to volunteer for community events.

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Thanks to Nom Nom treats and volunteers Keirra Reid and Charlotte Armstrong for the delicious custom cookies!

Thanks to Nom Nom treats and volunteers Keirra Reid and Charlotte Armstrong for the delicious custom cookies!

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Greg's Marilyn Monroe moment.

Greg’s Marilyn Monroe moment.

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Our fearless leader, KW Polar Plunge founder, Greg Lehman.

Our fearless leader, KW Polar Plunge founder, Greg Lehman.

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Dear Banana Girl, you left your red hoodie at the Polar Plunge. Please contact event organizers via Facebook so that we can get it back to you!_EBI7267edit_web

 

Did you like what you saw here? Please leave a comment below to tell the organizers what you thought of this year’s event, and don’t forget to nominate your friends and family for next year’s Polar Plunge!

 

2014 KW Polar Plunge Fundraiser for KidsAbility

KW_Polar_Plunge_2014_Emily_Beatty_ImageryIt was a brave crowd that came out for the third annual KW Polar Plunge on Saturday February 22nd, 2014. This fun and dramatic community event is the pride and joy of founder Greg Lehman, who started it three years ago after losing a bet. Participants including Greg collect donations from sponsors, and then dress up and jump into freezing water to support KidsAbility.

This winter has been the coldest on record for many years, and those who took the plunge deserve a lot of credit for boldly jumping into a COLD kiddie pool on a day that hovered right around zero degrees. The rest of us were awfully grateful to be bundled up in boots, hats and jackets that were a bit more appropriate for the middle of winter in Canada. I think every one of us in Waterloo Town Square that day was glad that the event was rescheduled from the original January 25th date due to dangerously cold temperatures. Zero Celsius is pretty cold– but it could have been worse!Polar_Plunge_KW_2014

The jury is still out on the final total, but word has it that this year’s event raised over $7000, all of which will go directly to the KidsAbility facility in Waterloo. KidsAbility is a terrific organization that “empowers children & youth with special needs to realize their full potential through life-changing therapy and support services”.

As always, it is the volunteers and community sponsors that made this event such a success. Thanks to Nom Nom Treats, Hogg Heating and Air Conditioning, KFUN 99.5FM, Spike Creative Solutions, Bre Creative, Bright Water Services, Boston Pizza, Beertown, and everyone else that contributed to this year’s KW Polar Plunge.Waterloo_Town_Square_KW_Polar_PlungeKW_polar_plunge2014KW_Polar_Plunge_2014_event_photography

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Our fearless leader, KW Polar Plunge founder, Greg Lehman.

Our fearless leader, KW Polar Plunge founder, Greg Lehman.KW_Polar_Plunge_2014_Waterloo_event_photographer

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Thanks to Nom Nom treats and volunteers Keirra Reid and Charlotte Armstrong for the delicious custom cookies!

Thanks to Nom Nom treats and volunteers Keirra Reid and Charlotte Armstrong for the delicious custom cookies2014_KW_Polar_Plunge!

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Bre Creative always makes time to volunteer for community events.

Bre Creative always makes time to volunteer for community events.KW_Polar_Plunge

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The delightful team that organized the 2014 KW Polar Plunge.

The delightful team that organized the 2014 KW Polar PlungeKW_Polar_Plunge.

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Summertime Photography at Steckle Heritage Farm

_EBI7774edit2crop_webAs the official site photographer at Steckle Heritage Farm, I’m lucky to have had many opportunities to explore “your farm in the city” during each season, but summer is undoubtedly my favourite. Whether its strolling through the apple orchard, visiting the animals or picking fresh produce from the gardens, you’re sure to encounter something unique and beautiful each time you visit this Kitchener heritage property.

Steckle also happens to be the new home of Two Crows Growery, a business that specializes in urban farming, restoration agriculture, and providing KW restaurants with fresh, local food. You can read a recent Rare Republic interview with the Two Crows here.

These first months of 2014 have been the most frigid that most of us can remember. Lately, the farm staff have been battling 16 foot snow drifts just to make it to the barn! I think we’ve all just about had it when it comes to shoveling, icy road conditions, and hibernating. Maybe what we need is a reminder of good things to come, like summertime at Steckle. It’s coming. Patience grasshopper.Steckle_Heritage_Farm_photographerSteckle Heritage Farm photographerbaby animals at Steckle Heritage FarmPortraits at Steckle Heritage Farm in KitchenerEmily Beatty nature photographer

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2013 KW Polar Plunge Fundraiser for KidsAbility

_EBI3995e_webIt always starts the same way, with the filling of an over sized kiddie pool. As the water line rises, more and more curious onlookers gather around and Polar Plunge participants begin to populate the lineup at the registration table. Eventually, the brave souls that sign up take turns throwing themselves into a frigid pool of water while the crowd cheers them on to raise money for the people and programs at KidsAbility. Aside from the fundraising aspect and the various sponsors and entertainers, the best thing about the Polar Plunge is that it is a remarkably good spectator sport. There’s nothing like seeing a half naked, half-man, half-horse, cannonball into icey water to make you appreciate a hot cup of coffee and warm place to go home to.KW Polar Plunge PictureI volunteered my time to document the second year of this new KW community event in 2013, and I’m happy to be returning to the Polar Plunge as the official event photographer again in 2014. I’m not the sort of person who enjoys being out in the cold, but hanging out with a crowd of soaking wet, half costumed people really made me appreciate the fact that I was wearing a camera and a coat as opposed to something spandex. Thanks to the event sponsors and the terrific team of volunteers that made the 2013 Plunge such a success.

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Testing the waters. Testing the waters.

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Some inspiring words from the people at KidsAbility.

Some inspiring words from the people at KidsAbility.

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The Accabellas perform for the crowd before the Plunge begins.

The Accabellas perform for the crowd before the Plunge begins.

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Time to get the party started!

Time to get the party started!_EBI4282e_web

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Warming up in the Hogg Hot House.

Warming up in the Hogg Hot House.

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Event organizer Kierra Reid and Bre of Bre Creative.

Event organizer Kierra Reid and Bre of Bre Creative.

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Yay for volunteers!

Yay for volunteers!

See you Saturday, January 25th for the third annual KW Polar Plunge!

 

Yoga To Beat Cancer Event Photography in Victoria Park Pavilion

_EBI9314edittitlepageFriday November 22nd, 2013 was the night of the first ever Yoga to Beat Cancer fundraising event hosted by the Canadian Cancer society in Kitchener’s Victoria Park Pavilion. Close to 150 participants registered and collected donations from sponsors to draw strength and support from each other as a group and raise over $8000 for cancer research.

Queen St. Yoga instructors were on hand to lead fundraisers in a 2 hour yoga practice that was regularly punctuated by feverish dance party breaks. The DJs at the event had a great selection of current dance hits and the crowd was definitely feeling the music, twisting, leaping, and even doing a Conga line at one point. Unsure of exactly what to expect, the yogis were delighted by the inclusive and welcoming atmosphere of the glow in the dark dance party.

I would photograph the next Yoga to Beat Cancer event in a heartbeat! Even though I was stressing about how busy I was on the way over to the Pavilion, by the time I left the event I was in a far more relaxed and positive frame of mind.

As far as I’m concerned, this was a flawless first time event thanks to the amazing team at the Canadian Cancer Society and their trusty squad of community volunteers.

Thanks for a phantasmagoric evening!

_EBI8915edit_web_EBI8923edit_webyoga_Kitchener_cancer_EBI9077edit_web_EBI8870edit_webYoga To Beat Cancer_EBI9072edit_web_EBI9018edit_webYoga to Beat Cancer photos by Emily Beatty Imagery, 2013. Yoga To Beat Cancer 2013_EBI8942edit_web_EBI9308edit_webyoga_Kitchener_event_photographer_EBI9177edit_webYoga to Beat Cancer photos by Emily Beatty Imagery, 2013. _EBI9000edit*art_web_EBI8908edit_webYoga_to_beat_cancer_2013_EBI9191edit_webyoga_Kitchener_EBI8996editcrop_web_EBI9262edit_web_EBI9218edit_web_EBI9238edit_web_EBI9186edit_web_EBI9170edit*_webyoga_to_beat_cancer_EBI8998edit*_web_EBI9122edit_web_EBI9222edit_web_EBI9195edit*_web_EBI9221edit_web_EBI9106edit_webyoga_to_beat_cancer_conga_line_EBI9058edit_web_EBI9143edit_web_EBI9213edit*_web_EBI9249edit_web_EBI9009edit_web_EBI8996edit_web_EBI9251edit_web_EBI9105edit_web_EBI9128edit_web_EBI9051edit_web_EBI8994edit_web_EBI9226edit_web_EBI9224edit_web_EBI9152edit_web_EBI9001edit*_web_EBI9266edit_web_EBI9314edit_web_EBI9312edit_web_EBI9033edit_web

“Wake Up, Santa!” Breakfast at Steckle Heritage Farm

A HOLLY, JOLLY BREAKFAST WITH SANTA HIMSELF!

Once again, the staff at Steckle have come up with a totally unique community event. Their “Wake Up, Santa!” breakfast on November 30th was a real treat for both the young and the young at heart. My presence was a last minute thought, but I’m glad I was on hand to capture the atmosphere of joy in the barn that morning.

group photo at Steckle Heritage Farm in Kitchener

The staff at Steckle Heritage Farm pose for a photo with Santa outside the 180 year old barn.

Families arrived at the farm around 9am, and gathered around the curtained stage where Santa was rumoured to be snoozing. When the curtains were drawn, all the children shouted, “Wake up, Santa!” and the big man himself sat up with a smile! Santa put on his coat and his boots and proceeded to visit with all the breakfast guests while they enjoyed pancakes, sausages, clementines, hot drinks, and other goodies.

Once everybody got a chance to eat, Santa sat down on his special straw throne and invited all the children to meet him one at a time, take a loot bag, and pose for a photo or two. Children also had the opportunity to make a tree ornament and visit with all the animals that live year round at the farm.

There were a TON of smiles in the barn that morning before Santa had to head back to the North Pole. Merry Christmas to all the friends of Steckle!

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Cheers!