My name is Kez-Anne Dawes, most people call me Kezzy or Kez for short! I have a full time job with the Government of Alberta, I am a part time photographer and a content creator (sometimes I still feel awkward saying this, but I’m learning to embrace it because I love creating so much). I have been married to my husband for two years but we have been dating for 11 years. Together we have two kids, Love who is 3.5 years old and Sir who is 1.5 years old. There are no plans right now to continue extending our family, two feels like a great number!
I run my personal page (@champagne.kezzy), my photography page (@glitterandgoldphotos) and our sneaker candle page (@dizzign.house). My husband and I are big sneakerheads and definitely have started a collection for the kids! My favourite things are coffee, champagne, and anything that has to do with house décor.
What is your favourite coffee recipe?
My favourite coffee recipe is one I made up after getting our espresso machine:
- Two shots of espresso (because mama is tried)
- Brown sugar; however much or little as per your sweet tooth
- Frothed milk (sometimes I use oat milk!)
- Topped with caramel sauce, lots of Carmel sauce (sometimes I add whipped cream on my husband's!)
What are the must-haves you can’t live without as a mom?
Definitely a good coffee machine! Haha We have the Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine, we also have a Nepresso for those days we need a quick coffee on our way out the door.
If you have any adventures planned as a family, getting a Thule Chariot is life-changing. There is so much space to bring a lot of snacks and toys to keep them busy while we hike or take long river valley walks, or even just going to the park.
What is your favourite room in your house?My favourite room in the house is my daughter's “big girl” room. She had the best nursery, which I did not think we could beat, but it turned out so cute and perfect for her. It’s light and airy, which flower wall decals, along with prints from local companies (many are from Nest in the City!). We are slowly changing/adding décor throughout the house, so my favourite room might change by next month haha.
Do you have any advice/tips for Mamas to take better photos of their littles?
- First and foremost, let go of any photo expectations you might have! Let's be real it can be so hard to get a “good” photo, especially starting around the age of 3, and that’s okay. Be okay with those “in the moment”, even blurry photos. They all tell a story and sometimes those are the best photos. I remember being so particular when my daughter was born about her photos. Now I try my best to tell her to be herself and I snap as much as possible. If I think I didn’t get one then I politely ask her for one where she is looking and smiling. Letting go of that expectation and making it feel like a chore was life-changing, especially since that’s how I am with my clients, so why would it be different for my daughter! And putting less pressure on them will get you a better result.
- But some things to remember while taking your photos are to always make sure the lighting is good, natural is the best and clear/clean backgrounds. Turning on the grid for your camera will also make a difference to make sure your photos are straight and this can help you with the Rule of Thirds (give it a quick google search!)
- Be aware of the placement of items that are in the backgrounds (ie. Trees, make sure it doesn’t look like it is coming out the top of their head lol it sounds silly and most of the time people won’t notice, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it haha).
- Be aware of legs and arms being cut off. Try to get down on their level instead of your photos from an up top angel. I use my iPhone camera 60 percent of the time and just like my dslr, you can change the exposure to have a bright and airy look or a dark and moody look. If you are posting to Instagram, try to pick a preset you like and stay consistent and if you don’t wish to use a preset, you can always just adjust the brightness/darkness to your liking afterwards.
What are your favourite family activities in the summer?
- Every year we take the kids to the mountains once or twice during the summer months, along with staying in Calgary for either a day or night.
- We enjoy walking and exploring new neighbours in the city, which is nice because I didn’t realize how many cute neighbourhoods there are!
- We also enjoy taking our kids to the zoo and spray parks
- And the last big one for use is Cariwest, which is a Caribbean parade and celebration, which I have been in since the age of 6 years old! So I am looking forward to passing that family tradition down to my kids.
What advice would you give to a new Mom?
To never wish away the moment because you will never get that moment back. I know sleepless nights are hard and the clingy stage can feel suffocating but they are only little once. With each phase comes new feelings and new excitement but it also comes with new challenges, which is why its important to be present in the moment and enjoy the good times and work through the hard times.
Another one is boundary setting. It’s okay to set boundaries for yourself and for your kids with family/friends. If company is visiting, it's okay if you don’t want them to cuddle your baby until you are ready, or you ask them to wash their hands before holding the baby or standing up for your kid(s) if they don’t want to give someone a hug. You should never feel bad for protecting your peace and the peace of your child(ren). People who love and care about you will either understand or they will learn to understand. It is so important to be a voice for your child so don’t be afraid!
What has surprised you most about motherhood?I was most surprised when I had two completely different birth experiences haha. My first birth, born right on her due date, was a bit traumatic and I didn’t get to meet her for probably the first three hours, I was alone in my room while my husband went with her. I remember feeling worried, anxious, and tired. I had no clue what was going on, we then ended up staying in the hospital for five days. It was the longest five days but I also felt so comfortable having the nurses by my side, especially as a new mom. My second birth was the calmest experience, which is funny because he was a month early. But it was the best I got to see what he looked like right away and hold him and go to my room with him. It was the best feeling ever.
The other that that surprised me was how hard breastfeeding is! With both my kids I had to see a lactation consultant for extra help and support. With my first, I was able to successfully breastfeed and pump for 12 months and my second I made it to four months. I was so emotional over this because I had done it once already so I just assumed I would be able to with no problems again. Sometimes I get sad about it still because I’m not sure that we want to have another baby and breastfeeding was one of the best (and worst) experiences I have been through. It is such an emotional rollercoaster and you often find yourself comparing when you see other mothers nurse with little to no problems.
What makes motherhood beautiful for you?
Oh man, motherhood has taught me how to look after myself and speak kindly to myself. I think we forget how harsh we are to ourselves but when you have little ones watching you and mimicking you, it puts into perspective that you are worthy and you are enough. I didn’t know I needed those reminders so much. A lot of mothers lose themselves in this time in our life, and truthfully I probably did too, but once my daughter became a toddler it was so much more different because I knew she understood. You get to be the parent you needed as a child. And when I look at my kids and see my younger self in them, I just remember how much I needed a hug and to feel loved and safe. I love giving that feeling to my kids and I love doing parenthood with my husband. He is so supportive, kind and gentle and together we get to raise kind humans. Every new experience or tradition has become so much more exciting and beautiful.
It's not all rainbows and happy moments but we continue growing together and have amazing friends and family who help whenever we need it and it makes the job so much easier.