Catching Up

ALEX_HOLIDAYS-15Boy I really fell behind in my blogging. With the holidays, and this little guy getting MAJORLY sick (more on that below). So, I still have to do another post about my Alberta trip, I want to talk about my 2018 goals and a BUNCH of other blog stuff but for now I’m just going to do a photo dump from the holidays and a lot of little young sir, who somehow just keeps getting cuter and cuter. ✨


Over Christmas weekend, Alex came down with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, which was absolute hell on us. He was in so much pain and covered in sores. It was too painful to eat or drink from a bottle for a couple days. I’m not even sure how we got through it! My parents came over and helped a lot the first two days, and Christmas Eve we went over there for dinner. Since HFM is viral you just have to wait it out, although the doctor we saw gave him antibiotics for possible strep (AND we alternated ibuprofen and tylenol ad nauseum) and that made it so he could at least eat a little and get some rest. But hooooooly shit were those first 48 hours difficult.

ALEX_HOLIDAYS-6ALEX_HOLIDAYS-8ALEX_HOLIDAYS-7Christmas day things were getting back on track. We went back to my parents house for our traditional breakfast.ALEX_HOLIDAYS-12ALEX_HOLIDAYS-19

Also, it was cold. Alex missed a week of day care while his blisters healed so we stayed inside allll week.I’m not as ready with the camera as I was when this dude was just a little stationary nugget. But he’s also doing a lot more interesting things now (and as I mentioned previously, is SO CUTE. OMG HIS LITTLE BLOND HEAD).ALEX_HOLIDAYS-24We also got the little guy a rocking horse for Christmas.ALEX_HOLIDAYS-29.jpgWhoaaaa how did I get all my favs into a pic? Swords, trees, vikings, Christmas, feminism, MY BOY? ALEX_HOLIDAYS-31😍ALEX_HOLIDAYS-32ALEX_HOLIDAYS-33ALEX_HOLIDAYS-34ALEX_HOLIDAYS-35On December 30 the Royce family gathered for Christmas dinner and gifts. The next day, NYE, Alan’s parents were in town and we went to the Swedish Institute to check out the holiday deco and grab lunch. It was actually a perfect time to go – the crowds were minimal. Maybe we’ll make an annual thing of it!

ALEX_HOLIDAYS-36ALEX_HOLIDAYS-37ALEX_HOLIDAYS-39ALEX_HOLIDAYS-40ALEX_HOLIDAYS-41ALEX_HOLIDAYS-43How sweet is this little gnome? For the Swedish Institute visit I made sure he was dressed head to toe (literally) in Swedish brands. Name, Hanna Andersson and H&M. These little skiing overalls are too good. ALEX_HOLIDAYS-45ALEX_HOLIDAYS-47.jpgALEX_HOLIDAYS-50ALEX_HOLIDAYS-54

Hope you and yours had a splendid holiday season. Looking forward to making some changes in this year!

Alberta, September 2017 – pt. 1


WOW – finally! I can’t remember the last time I had such a huge photographic undertaking and then waited so long to blog about it. Things have gotten in the way – actual paying freelance design gigs, parenting my child, DEPRESSION, etc. Despite the fact that I had such an amazing time taking these photos and also experiencing the real life moments happening around them, I felt very little motivation to edit them once I got back home.

First I feel like I need to back up and explain what this trip even was. Back in the summer I saw a post from an instagram account I follow talking about this camp happening in Alberta in September. I had at that point not had a job in over a year, had been exclusively breastfeeding and caring for a baby 24/7, and was feeling creatively restless and totally lost. You KNOW I love my baby Alex more than anything, but I’m also an artist and I needed to create. This camp – Socality Camp – was presented as a camp for creatives/entrepreneurs in the Canadian Rockies, which I felt was the most ideal place to have a creative re-awakening. I love the cold, I love mountains, I love outdoor photography, and I desperately craved the company of fellow artists, makers and more.

SOCALITY_LAYOUT2SOCALITY_LAYOUT3SOCALITY_LAYOUT4We did have to figure out a few things, like who would take care of Alex while I was away? As it happened, we were already sort of planning to enroll him in day care in September anyway so that would take care of the day-to-day. What about feeding? I was his ONLY source of milk at that point. Well, other things transpired leading up to my leaving – we got him started on formula (for an entirely different reasoning) so that was one less thing for Alan to worry about, and I didn’t have to stress out about what kind of breastmilk stores I was leaving behind, OR making on my trip (TMI? Maybe!).

So with all that squared away, I held my breath and bought two tickets; one for the plane and one for the camp. I’ll pause for a minute to acknowledge how PRIVILEGED and LUCKY I am that I was able to do this. I don’t for a second take for granted the good fortune I’ve had in my life, and this trip is more than proof of that. SOCALITY_LAYOUT5SOCALITY_LAYOUT6SOCALITY_LAYOUT7Anyway. Since this blog is so late, and I’ve already seen a ton of blogs from other attendees about the camp, I feel a little bit of pressure to do some EXTREME EDITING. I made an indesign document to layout my photos, because it gives it an editorial feel and allows me to feature a few photos at once in some cases. I thought “20 pages should help me reign it in” NOPE I have over 50. I can’t be anything less than what I am, man. This is my truth. So you’re getting two blogs however many blogs it takes!

SOCALITY_LAYOUT8SOCALITY_LAYOUT9SOCALITY_LAYOUT10I haven’t even really talked about what this camp even WAS, though. It was at a big ranch-style camp in remote Alberta – extremely off the grid. No cell reception, hardly even decent Wifi. There were guests and speakers and workshops, all centering about creativity – building your brand, working with other brands, finding your voice, etc. Some times we got to play around with actual product, photograph people ~whose actual jobs are being models on instagram~, and getting to pick the brains of Instagram “influencers” who regularly work with companies to create content, and a lot of whom travel around full time taking photos. That’s a dreamy life.

Above is Joelle Friend during a workshop on brand photography led by Garrett King

SOCALITY_LAYOUT13This trip was also my first encounter with the Northern Lights!!! The forecast said they’d be out at like 3 AM so I went to bed extra early so I could wake up at 2:45 (and pump milk in a weird fancy outhouse – let’s not forget I was pumping milk the ENTIRE trip) and get my tripod set up. Unbeknownst to me, the Aurora had come out already, at a much more manageable hour, while I was trying to get to sleep earlier and everyone else was still up. So. But, shrug, I still got to see them, and be in a little mini workshop with the super cool Tanner StewartHe had already shot the Aurora earlier that evening, but still came out to show us normies how it’s done. Such a mensch.

The people who were the de facto “leaders” of the camp I’m just sort of in awe of for their drive, but also for their generosity and patience to help people learn and become better at their crafts. That’s a noble undertaking. I’m really glad I got to meet some of them, even though I was sort of shy. I should work on that. SOCALITY_LAYOUT14I was going to say “the next morning” but it was actually like, an hour after we started shooting the lights, the camp boarded busses to drive the 3-some hours to Banff, to see the sunrise at Moraine Lake. It’s an iconic shot. Pretty sure it was an Apple default desktop at one point? As we arrived, there was kind of a scramble to get a good spot to shoot from. Most folks went on this big rock hill so I camped out on the rocky shore.

Inevitably, when you’re finally physically in a location that you’ve seen so many times in photos, some of the mystique is gone. I didn’t know what Moraine Lake looked like outside of that view. It’s actually pretty crowded, and there’s like, a gift shop 50 feet away.

SOCALITY_LAYOUT15I really dug Moraine Lake. The sun rose around ~8AM but for the most part stayed behind the mountains until noon. So it was surreal, walking up and down this spot which, while crowded, was still pretty remote, and if you walked far enough away, you could be totally alone. SOCALITY_LAYOUT16Despite the fact that I came on this trip to get to know people and bond with like-minded creatives, I was still a bit of a loner. Being 1 in 150 and trying to make deep personal connections in 5 days is a challenge. But most everyone I met was so kind and they all listened to me talk about how I had a baby at home and I was looking for a creative rebirth (haha, sorry). SOCALITY_LAYOUT17SOCALITY_LAYOUT18

Wendy, aka @nomadicfare.SOCALITY_LAYOUT19SOCALITY_LAYOUT20

Speaking of Instagram influencers I was kind of in awe of, Christian Watson, aka 1924 (who actually *deleted* his instagram recently, like a boss). His whole persona is something to behold, online but especially in person. I was way too intimidated to say hi to him almost the entire trip, but on our last night I got up the nerve and we chatted for a few minutes during a campfire dance party. He asked me about myself, and I asked him for a hug, which he obliged. I wonder if I’ll ever get a chance to meet him again?

Christian brought this cool Merrimack Canoe and Sanborn Paddles down to the lake and people started getting in the canoe and taking photos of each other with the mountains in the background. I initially witnessed this from a bench a ways away sipping my second latte (hey – when you come in contact with espresso for the first time in a whole two days, you lean in to that shit). I kind of thought it was funny at first, and wondered what the other tourists standing around would be thinking about – literally – 10 photographers huddled together taking pictures of a person in a canoe, not even paddling the canoe! I wrote about what happened next on Instagram and am not gonna try to phrase it a different way:

 The moment when it all clicked for me at @socalitycamp was when I was drinking my *second* latte at Moraine Lake. The sun takes a long time to come up over the lake after it’s risen and it sorta felt like we were in a snow globe — for a place so huge it felt small and contained. @1924us brought out a @merrimackcanoes canoe and a couple @sanborncanoe paddles and people started jumping in, paddling around and taking photos – practicing their craft, together. People on the shore packed in close together to get the perfect shot. The freewheeling collaborative effort shook something loose in me and I had to jump in. What I had been witnessing from afar I suddenly was a part of and I felt connected. To the people, the land, to my camera, and importantly, to myself. I felt at that moment that I could DO this kinda thing.

It’s cheesy but so true! I went to Alberta to feel more connected to my creativity and this one instance really busted open the floodgates. It was so special. SOCALITY_LAYOUT21SOCALITY_LAYOUT22@ScottBakkenSocality Founder


Part 2 coming later this week!

I’m Glad I Spent it With You


Photos by kaley from kansas

My time as a stay-at-home-mom is over! (for now)

I’m sad and relieved, scared and excited. Motherhood is like that. Warring feelings at every turn. Putting Alex in daycare was an inevitability, but we always thought it’d be in November-ish, after his first birthday. When Alan texted me in July that there was a part time spot open in September at our first choice day care, I was instantly conflicted. It was sooner than we thought. I felt I was just getting this SAHM thing down pat. I was thinking about the kind of summer I was having with Alex: fun! walks, music class, swimming, the zoo, etc… I would miss that so much. But we really wanted in at this daycare. So we said yes. And besides, it was only 3 days a week. That would be a good transition. But then recently they had an opening for full time, and we took it, not knowing what my work situation would be yet, but knowing it would open me up for much more work.

I have to say, not having a job to go back to but no longer having a baby to take care of solo is like the ULTIMATE sad-Caroline scenario, similar to how I felt before Alex was born. I feel as though I lack purpose. And trying to re-enter the workforce after so long is presenting challenges already. I’m trying to remain positive, knowing that this will be a really good thing for our boy, and a good thing for mom and dad too. I don’t really think women are meant to be sole caregivers for long stretches of time. I hope you won’t judge me when I say taking care of a baby is fundamentally boring. He’s wonderful and we’ve truly had some fun together, and I don’t regret any of it. But I’m ready to get back to doing adult things, and he can play with kids his age all day… in a padded room where he can’t break anything (lol).

I got some photos taken of us to commemorate this special period in my life with Alex. He’s my first baby, the one who made me a mom, and every day my heart breaks over how much he’s becoming NOT a baby anymore. Sweet Alex. Can’t wait to keep going on these journeys with you!


Up North


Last week we had a grand experiment called “Bring the Baby to the Cabin and See What Happens”. It turned out OK… In the the days before we left, Alex suddenly had issues getting back down to sleep after his middle-of-the-night feeding. I’m talking screeching and howling when I leave the room. This caused panic and concern in me, because 1.) we’d be sharing a room with him and 2.) we’d be sharing a cabin with 9 other people, so letting him cry it out didn’t seem like an option. The only solution I saw was that I’d have to be up with him, possibly for hours, until I could get him back to sleep in the most peaceful way possible. So that’s what I did. Every night I was up for at least an hour, usually more, confined to this tiny dark room. To be honest, it was hell. BUT. There were lots of good things about our trip. Time with grandparents, fresh air, the weather was leaps and bounds better than the forecast promised, plenty of lake time, beautiful sunsets, and so, so much more. And having so many hands on deck meant I could claim at least an hour or two of morning z’s.


Weekend Away

JUGGLER-16JUGGLER-14Last Tuesday we returned home from a whirlwind long weekend Up North to visit Alan’s folks at their cabin. It’s recently built (replacing a TRULY rustic cabin that lacked electricity or indoor plumbing!) and we only briefly toured the place last summer on a day trip from my family’s cabin. Now that this cabin is here, Alex will have twice the fun summer times with family! It’s so nice to be able to have these places for our kids. Growing up going to the cabin was and still is one of my most cherished traditions.JUGGLER-1JUGGLER-2JUGGLER-5JUGGLER-8JUGGLER-9JUGGLER-11JUGGLER-20A couple evenings Alan’s dad took us two out in the little boat to tour the lake. Is there anything better than an evening on a lake? No there is not.JUGGLER-27JUGGLER-29It occurred to me that I’ve never been this far north, this close to the solstice, so it stayed light out past 10 o’clock. This was a bit of a novelty to me. I’d hoped to do some astrophotography but I couldn’t make it to darkness. And good thing too, because our first morning Alex woke up about 5:30. It’s tough for a little guy to adjust to vacations!JUGGLER-30JUGGLER-31I really don’t mind waking up at dawn (although these photos were taken decidedly post-dawn). It’s tough, but when you’re at a beautiful lake in the woods, that’s basically a feature. I’m sure there will be more of these next month at the other cabin.

And if you’re going to have a baby force you awake in the early hours, it’s nice to have a couple extra pairs of hands to hold him while you get your bearings and drink lots of coffee.JUGGLER-33Hah! Alan’s uncle who owns a little stretch of shore across the lake picked us up in a pontoon for a little family visit. Alex’s first time on a boat!JUGGLER-37JUGGLER-38JUGGLER-39JUGGLER-40JUGGLER-43JUGGLER-44JUGGLER-45JUGGLER-46JUGGLER-47JUGGLER-48JUGGLER-50JUGGLER-51JUGGLER-52JUGGLER-53JUGGLER-54JUGGLER-55JUGGLER-56JUGGLER-57JUGGLER-58JUGGLER-60JUGGLER-63JUGGLER-64JUGGLER-65JUGGLER-66JUGGLER-68

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