{Niagara Newborn Photographer} Phoenix | The Birth Story

As a photographer, I see a lot of birth photography in my Facebook feed and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It’s raw, emotional, real, and captures a completely life altering moment. I was so excited to have Megan Byl of Megan Strating Photography attend our birth. She was so professional- easy to talk to in the quiet moments, and disappeared into the background when things started picking up. These images are just a few of my favorites, there are so many more personal moments that she captured that we will keep for ourselves. I am SO thankful that I have these, and I have to say, we really noticed that we were able to focus on each other and on Phoenix when we didn’t have to think about of capturing any of it on camera ourselves.

My water broke at 6:30 in the morning in the middle of a huge snowstorm, the biggest Niagara has experienced yet this year. Of course my husband was out snowplowing over an hour away and I was home with 4 kids and no way to get to the hospital any time soon. To say I was a little panicked was an understatement, considering the last 2 children arrived within a few hours after labor began, and I had never had my water break on it’s own. Thankfully, Greg was able to come home quite quickly, my mother in law walked over to be with the kids and we safely drove to the hospital in a big old plow truck- no safer ride out there! Phoenix decided to make us wait the entire day- but that extra time made all the difference in labor as I had time to dilate and the contractions were much easier to deal with than they had been in the last two (faster) births. The midwives were fantastic in helping me get through the contractions, I have never had such a great experience with a birth. Thank you Jen and Taryn! Finally, Phoenix Nile Donker was born at 7:08 pm (Monday, February 2nd, 2015). He was 11 days early. We were so excited to meet him and were completely surprised to see that he had red hair! All of our children have looked so different at birth and he was no exception. We are all head over heels in love with him and are settling in nicely. His big brother is so proud of him and his sisters love on him constantly. We are so thankful to our heavenly Father for watching over us, providing us with safe travels on the dangerous roads and making all things well with labor and delivery. I’ve been sharing a few images on Facebook but you’ll find a lot more over on Instagram if you care to follow me there.

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{Niagara Newborn Photographer} Never stop learning…

I never loved school outside of the social aspect and art class. . . I didn’t attend college because I couldn’t imagine devoting any more years of my life to a desk and homework. But when you have a passion, a true love for something, learning no longer feels like a drag. I LOVE that every year I am able to pick one aspect of my business to work on and find great teachers to help me perfect that, whether it be business, posing, editing, workflow, marketing, etc. I think it is so important to continue to grow in your art, in your knowledge, to make friends within your field and continue to build your brand. This year I traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to to learn under Allie Marie Photography. Allie an incredible photographer and we connected so well right from the beginning. I’ve learned a few things from various workshops I have attended and I always feel like there is so much more to learn, so it was wonderful that this time around it was 1:1 and we were able to focus on a few key things. We had two beautiful newborn babies join us for day one- they were both very good and we were able to really play with posing and wrapping. Coming home from the session I can absolutely say I have more confidence in wrapping newborns and learned a few tricks that made my next couple sessions go like a dream. Some (like my husband) may ask why bother doing workshops when your work is good to begin with, you know the basic poses, you have clients, etc. To this I answer, no artist has ever perfected their craft. If it is not evolving and changing and growing, it is stale and stagnant. . . and that’s not something I ever want to hear my work being labeled as. Thank you Allie for a being such a great hostess, a pro antique shopper, for the great talks and wonderful memories!

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Celebrating Women | A Giveaway

This is the second annual ‘Celebrating Women’ giveaway, and I am excited to introduce some amazing new entrepreneurs and business women! The theme of the giveaway is to promote local female entrepreneurs and celebrate their passion for their businesses, while also completely SPOILING one local woman with an incredible prize pack, just in time for Mothers Day. This years prize pack is worth well over $2000! How incredible is that?! The way to enter this giveaway is simple- scroll down to the bottom of this post, and be sure to like each vendors Facebook page. Our vendors are all excited to get to know you, and spread the word about the product they are so proud of! It would be amazing if you would also take the time to leave them some love or check out their websites. Let’s share the love people!

A Cherry on Top – a personalized item up to a $30 value, valued at $30
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Aloette with Stephanie – “You + 2 Bedtime Pamper Session”. The winner will receive a bottle of Hand & Body Silk, plus she can choose 2 friends and each of them will receive a bedtime facial, hand/arm and neck/temple massage, valued at $90.
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Apple & Honeycombs – an original one piece world map, valued at $120apples&honeycombs Arbonne with Brandy- the Ultra Soft Skin Set including the amazing anti- aging Re 9 Advanced Reactivating Body Serum and Hydrating Body Lotion valued at $95. PLUS a gift certificate for a FREE anti aging FACIAL for the winner and up to 5 friends with a BONUS $50 offer, valued at $145arbonne Baby in Vogue – the winner will receive a store credit to her shop, valued at $50 babyinvogueBayview Creations – one handmade growth chart valued at $50bayview-creations Creative Clicks Photography – a mini Mommy & Me session in my studio PLUS the Gift Print Collection, valued at $735creaative-clicks Glitterbug – one hour of face painting OR glitter tattoo services in the Greater Hamilton Area, valued at $75glitterbug Have it Maid – 2 hours of house cleaning, valued at $50haveitmaid ItWorks! with Mary Jane – winner will receive the skinny pack, valued at $112itworksJamberry with Karen – application Kit and your choice of a Sheet of Nail Wraps (good for 4 applications – 2 manicures and 2 pedicures) (will cover cost of shipping and taxes so it is completely free), valued at $48jamberry
JCFresh – an assorted gift basket of custom soap products, valued at $30jcfresh
Kade and Reece – offering a beautiful wreath, valued at $30
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Kristin’s Cakes – a $50 gift certificate and one dozen cupcakes, valued at $66kristin'scakes Norwex – an assorted gift basket containing an enviro cloth, window cloth, dusting mitt, lip balm, spirinett, spirisponge, micro-cleaning hand pad, optic scarf, baby body cloth, mini sample of laundry detergent, sample pack of Marine Organics skin care line, valued at $116norwex One Earth – 2 Cup Silver Tea Pot, 1 pair of women’s hand-made leather slippers, 1 package of organic tea, valued at $70oneearth Organic Tan Niagara – an in home, custom blended, Organic airbrush tan, and a container of organic Coconut oil, with coconut essence, valued at $75organictan Overstitched – banner of winner’s choice, valued at $25overstitched Pampered Chef – an introduction package PLUS a $50 gift certificate towards Pampered Chef Products, valued at $50+pamperedchef Plum Tree Woodshop & Design – a Family Birthday Board with 20 tiles, valued at $55 plumtree Scentsy by Ang – offering a plug in warmer, valued at $24 scentsy SheBella – the winner will receive a Butternut Yellow Go-Anywhere Purse, valued at $57shebellaStork Bake Shoppe – 1 pan (24 squares) cream cheese brownies and 1 dozen pineapple carrot muffins, valued at $45storkbakeshoppe Thirty One Gifts – offering a beautiful Cosmetic bag set, valued at $42thirtyonegifts For the Love of Tupperware – an assorted gift basket valued at $75tupperwareUppercase Living – vinyl wall décor that says ‘family’, 8.75″ x 5.75″, valued at 20$uppercaseliving Wild Skye Oils – the introduction kit is everything you need to get started experiencing the immediate life changing benefits of dōTERRA essential oils. The kit includes Lavender essential oil (5mL), Lemon essential oil (5mL), Peppermint essential oil (5mL) and more, valued at $30wildskyeoils

The giveaway will be live from Monday, April 14th to Friday, May 2nd.
The winner will be announced here on the blog on Monday, May 5th.

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