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Maternity Photos: Iona Beach

During the last week of August I had the absolute pleasure of shooting with photographer Ryan Schroeder  and makeup artist, Gwen Perkins  of Belle and Rebel Beauty. Together we caught the last golden rays of sunset at Iona Beach, Vancouver BC and captured my little bump at 27 weeks.

We’re planning another shoot for sometime in Autumn so stay tuned and enjoy the photos!

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This final one is my favourite, purely for sentimental reasons; not many women can say that they still fit into their wedding dress at 7 months pregnant!

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One day I will miss this precious season of pregnancy where tenderness and strength mix in the holiness that stretches and embodies you to the limits of your earthly soul. For now, I am simply thankful.

Hello Autumn and Hello 3rd Trimester!

The Vancouver sky is grey this morning. Candles are burning, soup brewing, laundry washing and almost as if on cue, September has begun and Autumn has arrived. My growing belly is finally revealing the presence of my tiny passenger and everywhere I go I have people asking when my baby will be arriving. By most people’s definition I still don’t “look” 7 months pregnant but this is what 7 months pregnant looks like on me.

This year, Autumn means big knit sweaters, colourful scarfs, vibrant leaves, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes *decaf*, The Cranberry Festival, Aldor Acres, Thanksgiving turkey, Remembrance Day and… our Baby Boy!

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The Summer went by so quickly. Now that we are in the 29th week and in the Third Trimester, everything feels so much more real. I’m definitely nesting now and baby preparations are in full-swing! The house is getting de-cluttered, the freezer is full of frozen soup, private at-home prenatal classes are booked, placenta encapsulation is set up and the birthing pool is ordered! Yes- we are planning to birth our baby at home with midwives and a doula in attendance…AND I am planning on eating my placenta in all its nutritious glory after birth. #crunchymama

But in all seriousness, I am genuinely looking forward to giving birth. There’s just something so sacred about the whole idea of God using me to bring a new human life into existence and that I would get to carry him into the world. Remarkably, I find myself facing no fear of birth and I am sure that much of that is accredited to the wisdom of Ina May Gaskin and her teachings. I’m learning to trust what my body is capable of and these last seven months have been such a journey of strength. I am amazed at what the female body is capable of! Every single day I am blessed to feel my child as he stretches and squirms within my womb. At the same time I am reminded of the many women who would love to experience this journey yet are unable to or still waiting for the right time; I am eternally blessed and grateful for the journey I am on.

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Nostalgia: Miss World Ceremonies 2012

Wow. Has it really been two years already? This time two years ago I was finishing off 5 weeks competing at Miss World 2012 in China. I was so proud to represent Canada! Here’s a look back into that incredible experience through the Opening Ceremonies Celebration.

Tara, xo

6 month update!

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Wow! Time is flying by! My apologies for the extremely delayed update but summer-time is here and I’ve been busy busy busy! From gender reveal parties to camping to meeting with Ministers and Senators, this has been a very full month!

I know I rarely (**never) post photos of my bare belly but I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE my baby bump and I’m so proud of my strong body that is carrying, nurturing and growing this new life within me. Every time I feel him move, which is constantly, I’m reminded of how precious this gift is and how incredible my body is for taking us on this amazing journey.

So here’s some insight into the milestones of this month…

20 Weeks was a huge week; we had our midwife appointment and ultrasound….meaning that we finally got to find out that we are having a little BOY! From the very beginning I have had a feeling that we would have a son and now that we’ve seen his photos it makes this whole pregnancy so much more real! Our wonderful friends gathered around us to celebrate at our gender reveal party that was graciously put together by our dear friend, Becca.

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As you can see, most of the votes were heavily stacked in favour of #TeamBlue. In fact, all the family members were convinced that it would be a boy from the very beginning! We didn’t cut a cake or release balloons; instead we decided to spray coloured “silly string” for our gender reveal party! It was a lot of fun and I’m so happy that we were able to share this exciting moment with 30 of our closest friends and family.

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21 Weeks didn’t have as much excitement as I spent most of the week preparing my messages for Camp Imadene on Vancouver Island. One thing that I did realize this week was how much bonding I did with the baby as the reality was sinking in that I will be the Mama of a little boy in a few short months. His movements got stronger and stronger each day and now a lot of the family members have felt him kicking against my belly.

22 weeks was out of this world as Baby and I spent the week at a Teen Girls Camp with some of the most amazing people! Being a Camp Speaker is easily one of the most favourite things and I already miss all my ice cream dates with the campers, long talks with some of the most genuine staff teams, releasing glowing floating lanterns onto the lake at night and sunset mountain top experiences at Chapel. We saw God working in the lives of these precious girls as we learned more about who God is, how He uniquely created each of us while we listened to His truth and challenged the fears and negative self-talk that we carry so that we can do the “next brave thing” and become more of the women that God created us to be. World Change begins in our hearts and it is all about grace and transformation. 

One night after we released lanterns over the lake, I was speaking with one young camper as we watched the lanterns drifting away. This sweet girl has cerebral palsy and she began to talk about how great the week has been for her. Then she turned to my belly, put her hand onto my tummy and began to speak to my little baby and tell him how great life is and that he doesn’t need to worry or freak out about anything because it will all end up good!

*tears*

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To say it was a life-changing week is an understatement; it was eternity-changing. Truly, I have never been so honoured to serve alongside such a lion-hearted staff team who loved with immeasurable grace and humility.

23 weeks is the week that I spent at home.on the couch. It was rough but I’m very thankful for the flexibility of my work that allows me to take the time to rest when I need it.

24 weeks is where I currently find myself…eager to wish the summer away and hasten my baby’s arrival this autumn but also never wanting this special time of pregnancy to end. I really do love being pregnant. I know that I will miss this season when it is over so I am doing my best to take in every moment and savour every little baby kick until I can kiss those little toes that have been wiggling inside all this time.

Until then we are enjoying weekend camping trips and roundtable dinner discussions like the one I attended last night with prominent female leaders in Vancouver, Minister Kellie Leitch (Status of Women) and Senator Yonah Martin. Our focus was on Canada’s upcoming initiative for “International Day of the Girl” and the issues that girls face within Canada and abroad. We discussed education, self-esteem, forced marriage, media literacy, human trafficking, gender violence and body image, among many other important issues. It was baby’s first time attending a political meeting and somehow, I ‘m sure that it won’t be his last! I’m so excited to raise a boy and teach him the importance of integrity, service and honouring others. 

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And that’s my recap of July 2014! I hope your summer has been as exciting as mine has! Here’s to my favourite month of the year….AUGUST! It ain’t over yet!

19 Week Catch up!

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I finally “popped”! It only took 19 weeks…almost half of my pregnancy but now, I finally look somewhat pregnant!

Seriously this has been such a fun week! I’m feeling absolutely fantastic, plus we had two sets of good friends who had their weddings this weekend so it was super fun to get together and celebrate with them! Chris was the Best Man in his friend, Brandon’s wedding. I was so proud of him when he made his speech (the video montage that accompanied it was also hilarious)!

** Congratulations to Brandon & Karina and Curtis & Patricia! Wishing you a lifetime of love and joy!

This week I finally felt the baby move!! I’ve probably been feeling little kicks for the past two weeks but this week I know for certain. My mom and Chris were both able to feel the baby move too! That was very exciting. We’re all so excited to meet this little one. It’s fun that we can start to interact with him/her now through the little movements.

photo (14)More gifts for Baby Yam!! From Emilia and Darcy- long time family friends of Chris. 

Oh! And I forgot to update you. I got my hair done last week before the pageant. I’ve been thinking of lightening up the colour for a long time and now that I’m done the first trimester, its time to update with something new for summer. I went to my long-time stylist, Alex, at Salon Montage in Langley. The atmosphere is great, the service is phenomenal and the products are all Aveda, so its gentle on my hair and on the environment.

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STATS:

How far along?: 19 weeks (currently 20 weeks…this update is late)

How big is Baby?: Mango sized

Sleep: I sleep great.

Food Cravings: Ice cream, popsicles and vanilla mochi….maybe its a typical pregnancy craving or its just plain HOT OUTSIDE. #summertimepregnancyproblems

Food Aversions: Not applicable this week.

Symptoms: Still headache free! Just making sure that I drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and cool in this intense summer weather. I made Chris buy a fan for the house. Tooooo Hottttt!

Gender: Soon soon soon! Gender Reveal Party on July 12…stay tuned!

What I’m looking forward to: Gender Reveal Party….boy or girl?? What do you think?!

What I miss: I do miss drinking a cold beer with my hubby on a warm summer evening. Oh well….I’ll have a celebratory drink in…4.5 months.

Next appointment: July 8 with the midwives and then July 9 at the ultrasound clinic. (**By the time of this post I’ll have had both appointments already…stay tuned for the 20 week blog to hear the results!)

18 Week Catch up!

18 week bumpI’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! (clearly a Canadian who apologizes all the time!) My 18 week update is almost two weeks late! But I have a very good reason for my tardiness. Other than it being Canada Day recently, it was also the annual Miss BC pageant  at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.

Now in its 12th year, the Miss BC pageant has been foundational in the lives of many young women from all across our Province, including my own. It is a personal and professional development program to encourage and inspire young leaders across BC while providing them with the platforms to raise their voices in the community through philanthropy and volunteerism. While most pageants have their contestants doing promotional activities for sponsors and corporations, the Miss BC pageant is run solely by volunteers who believe in the cause and contestants spend their time participating in self-development workshops like: public speaking, etiquette,  healthy living, self-defence and leadership. The focus is on empowering each woman to use her voice for what she is passionate about and providing them with powerful life-skills to assist her in achieving her goals.

Testimonies from the 2013 Titleholders on what the pageant means to them. 

The Miss BC pageant is also unique because it is an equal opportunity pageant for all women from BC. There is no height or weight requirement and no age limit. Single mothers and transgendered women are welcome to apply. There are even separate categories for teens and married women to participate in the program and in 2013, we had a contestant make history by being the first woman with autism to compete (she returned again this year and was voted the Miss Congeniality title by her peers)! Oh and did I mention that there’s no swimwear competition? Contestants aren’t judged on outward beauty but rather the winner are chosen based on character, integrity and community involvement.

I can honestly say that I would not be who I am today or accomplished what I have without the support of the Miss BC pageant. I won the crown in 2010 (some of you have been faithfully following this blog since then!) and it was through that experience that I discovered my love for public speaker and learned how to articulate my passion to end human trafficking, violence against women and child exploitation. My title helped me to speak with a louder voice and use my influence to advocate in some of the highest levels of government and in various nations around the world.

Every year since my crowning I return to mentor the new contestants and assist in the organization of the pageant. It’s so powerful to watch each girl come into her own over the weekend. Many girls start off speaking shyly and stutter when they step up to the mic but by the end they are standing tall, confident and proud of who they are! I can truly say that this year Class of 2014 was one of the best. Every girl was so supportive of one another and each came with an open heart to learn and grow into the best version of herself. I am certain that many of the ladies, crown or not, will have an incredible impact on her community in the years to come!

Congratulations to the Class of Miss BC 2014 and all of the titleholders, plus Miss Congeniality and Heart & Soul winners!

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Now that my tardiness has been explained…on to the bump update!

STATS:

How far along?: 18 weeks (currently almost 20 weeks)

How big is Baby?: “Baby Yam” is finally the size of a Yam! And you can finally see the bump!! People are finally acknowledging that I am pregnant! Yay!

Sleep: Later nights this week with all the pageant prep and excitement going on but thankfully I’ve found lots of time for naps (and a secret hiding place in the green room of the theatre!)

Food Cravings: I had a MAD CRAVING for Mac & Cheese during the pageant! Thankfully my darling Charmaine, Miss Teen BC 2012 joined me on a trip to Wendle’s Cafe in Fort Langley where we found one of the best Mac & Cheese recipes that I have ever tasted! I’ll definitely be returning next time a craving calls!

Food Aversions: Still not crazy about fish…but otherwise I am good.

Symptoms: Headache free this week! Yay! Thanks for all the advice!!!

Gender: Soon soon soon! Planning our Gender Reveal Party already!

What I’m looking forward to: Baby kicks….I think I’m feeling it…but still not sure.

What I miss: Nothing! Honestly, I love being pregnant and its so fun  to share this special time with my Miss BC Pageant Family! We’ve been together for many years and they are such incredible people with hearts to serve. Cheryl, Miss BC 2011 and my successor, kept saying how excited she was to have a “pageant baby” around next year to cuddle and play with!

Next appointment: July 8 with the midwives and then July 9 at the ultrasound clinic.

17 Week Update

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Welcome Summer!!! Sorry about the bad quality “mirror selfie”  bump photo for this week. I’m still really waiting to “pop” and its a little frustrating when people see me and say that I don’t look pregnant yet. I know that at some point I’ll be longing for these days when I’m still close to my normal size but right now I’m just ready to be looking as pregnant as I feel. I’m getting close to halfway but it doesn’t look that way yet!

This week we attended a Gala at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club for Variety-The Children’s Charity and we brought our little one to his/her first concert! We were honoured to be guests at a private concert in Canada’s second largest home….a 44,340 square foot Mansion filled with the music of Roy and Rosemary. Apparently baby can hear now so I sincerely hope that baby could hear incredible genius of instrumental pop fusion. Seriously if your ears haven’t heard their magical sound yet, you need to check it out for yourself!

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STATS:

How far along?: 17 Weeks (I’m actually 18 weeks tomorrow)

How big is Baby?: The size of a Pomegranate…. (5in, 5oz)

Sleep: I finally have my energy back. Although I do take a nap in the afternoon when I can and early nights are still a must.

Food Cravings: I drove around to five different Chinese restaurants yesterday to satisfy a craving. Apparently the places around here don’t open until 4pm…

Food Aversions: Not this week.

Symptoms: Still having some headaches but thanks for all the tips last week! I am definitely trying some of them out. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Gender: Two more weeks. Eeeeek!

What I’m looking forward to: Baby kicks and the Gender Reveal Party….oh I can’t wait.

What I miss: I’m actually too excited and enjoying this season of life to miss anything.

Next appointment: July 8 with the midwives and then July 9 at the ultrasound clinic.

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