newborn

Hello Dylan (a.k.a.) Dyl Pickle // St. Louis, MO // 12.12.15

Welcome sweet baby Dyl Pickle. You were the fourth element in this family that was meant to be here all along. My heart feels like it has always known you. It was that way with Finn, too. And Finn says he has always known you. Finn has been talking to you before you arrived, and singing too. He says you talked back while in my belly ;) Since day one you have looked at me with knowing eyes, as if you have a secret you are bursting to tell me. Matter of fact, you started baby talking much earlier than I remember Finn babbling. And you really seem to know what you are saying. I just wish I knew this big secret you are trying to tell me! 

Dylan means "Son of the wave, born by the sea." In Welsh it is derived from the word IIanw, meaning "tide" or "flow". In Welsh Dylan was a god or hero associated with the sea. (We are not Welsh, nor do we live by the sea.. but we always have lived by a sea/ocean and love water. The name just felt right!)

Richard is his middle name, after his Pawpaw White (Rick), who is an incredible, adorable, lovable, hilarious, sweet, sweet man (when he isn't being sarcastic or teasing me)—with the twinkliest blue eyes you've ever seen! Dylan did not get his twinkly blue eyes, but I swear his hazel eyes (so far), do have a twinkle. The name Richard is derived from "ric" (ruler, leader, king) and "hard" (strong, brave), and therefore means "powerful leader". 

Dylan was born just two days (and three years) after his big brother Finn, just before Christmas (take notice of the angry elf photos, lol- it was nap time). He was sweet enough to wait until we celebrated Finn's birthday. He also weighed two ounces less, not wanting to trump his big bro ;) He is as sweet as a sweet Dill Pickle, and as snuggly as I had hoped and dreamed. I am beyond smitten over him, as he appears to be with me (but as soon as he realizes how cool and fun Daddy is, it'll all change). He smiles so so so much. I am so glad that he has his Daddy's laid back demeanor! We are so thrilled to have you here Dyl Pickle, finally!

Baby Connor & Aunt Pretty

A couple weeks ago I helped my fabulous Aunt Pretty do a newborn shoot for my cousin's new baby boy, John Connor Michaels. Aunt Pretty (Patricia, or Trish) is my Fairy Godmother, and also happens to be a professional photographer. One of my most vivid childhood memories of Aunt Pretty is her kissing on her son's cheek really loudly and saying "OH MY GAWD I WANT TO EAT YOU". The other vivid memory involves her directing a family photoshoot. And that still happens every time we all get together (the cheek kissing and the photoshoots). She is one of the most hilarious people I know. Seriously, Chelsea Handler has nothing on Aunt Pretty. Actually, combine Chelsea Handler and Phoebe Buffay and you will have a slight inkling as to the complexity of my Fairy Godmother. I have always looked up to her, and still do. I love that she is a photographer, and someone I can look up to. Actually, photography runs in the family. My Great-Grandfather was also a photographer. I think he ran a portrait studio actually!

So I was thrilled to do a newborn shoot with her, and help "corkscrew" baby Connor's head around, hold the backdrop blanket, put the set together, prop the pillows and cushions, soothe baby Connor, sweat my butt off, dodge projectile baby poo, and laugh by socks off. SO MUCH FUN! I learned a few new tricks from Trish, and had blast doing it. I hope I get to do it again, sometime soon. Love you Aunt Pretty!

Here are some quick snaps that I took when we put the "Hennessy" hat on Connor. Finn's older cousin Ross wore it, Finn wore it, and now Connor obviously got to wear it! My favorite shot is the one of him in the basket, that Trish took (below).  THAT photograph is hers. The rest I took on my SLR and iPhone. 

welcome, sweet claire

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing one of the most ADORABLE little girls recently. Claire is not only an absolute beauty, but she is also incredibly calm. She might have let out a tiny "meep" during the entire 4 hour photoshoot! Mommy and Daddy–Stacie and Hardy are clearly smitten with this little pink bundle of joy. How couldn't they be? It is hard to take your eyes off of this little girl. 

I had an amazing helper with me too–Stacie's younger sister, Sarah. She also was at their other sister's daughter's shoot over a year ago (also an absolute adorable, sweetheart!). She played the part of the loving Auntie, set stylist and photo assistant. Between her, Stacie, Grandma (or was it Mimi?) and I, we had so much fun playing baby dress up! There is so much love for this little girl. What a fun, sweet, happy, loving, good-looking family. I am so, so happy for them all! 

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Sweet baby Nolan

There was another very special baby that was born right before Christmas. Finn's younger cousin, Nolan. We were so glad that our rotation of holiday visits landed on this side of the family for this past Christmas, which fell two weeks after Nolan was born. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! He came into this world calmly and is just about one of the most laid back babies that I have ever met. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly. Finn is always SO excited to follow his big cousin Trevor around, trying desperately to keep up. One day Finn, one day. It will be fun to see the three of them following each other around next year!

Here are some tips for any Mommy photographers or Moms that are just trying to take photographs of their newborn: Stay calm, patient, turn up the heat, have a blow-dryer handy, burp the baby, rock the baby and photograph near a window. See more below...

We had the heat set to 80 degrees, went through 5 diaper changes2 feedings and ran the hair-dryer before little Nolan happily fell asleep on his parent's bed. Also, his Mommy's relaxed and soothing attitude (see her hand on him below) helped him fall asleep with not a care in the world. Having the Mom stay close usually helps keep the little one relaxed. If they are hungry though, they will smell her and wail. So keep them well fed! Some babies do get distracted by Mommy's sent regardless, so if they don't calm down, send her away to get some R&R. Using the parents bed is a great way to have a lot of space around the baby to work with. Just make sure you shoot in the room of choice when the lighting is best. Don't get frustrated if the baby is awake, those can be beautiful photographs as well. When they sleep though, they tend to have a more relaxed face, with no "Benjamin Button" wrinkles, haha. A hair-dryer, white noise machine (a ton of apps for your smart phone) or a vacuum cleaner also tend to stop the crying if it gets really bad. Remember to burp the baby after the feedings as well, and don't rush! A last ditch method is to either you or the Mommy hold the baby on their back with the head in your hands and feet pressed into your belly and sway him/her left to right (back and forth), keeping their feet in the same place. This motion creates some kind of effect that is similar to being in the womb. Remember to be patient, and give yourself 2-4 hours if needed. Babies are like sharks and pick up on fear, hahaha! G'luck!

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a brand new baby for christmas

I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest little family, just before Christmas. The Momma had her third, beautiful baby (a boy) on December 6th, which is RIGHT in the middle of the holiday craziness. I can relate 100% (Finn was born on 12.10.12). SO, I re-assured dear Momma that people would understand if she didn't have holiday cards AND announcements sent before Christmas, in addition to taking care of all of the other typical holiday needs AND a new baby. She sounded just like me last year, trying to do it all. Such an angel! I told her, "I think people would be impressed and surprised if you got all of that done"! Last year I had to be easy on myself and settle on sending a combination birth announcement/new years card (skipping a Christmas card). It can be really difficult trying to get everything done, the way we are used to. But as a Mom you also have to force yourself to let that pile of laundry pile up sometimes (a few days too). It actually is liberating. Meanwhile... flash forward three days and you find me on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floors and cabinets like Cinderella. 

Sorry, tangent! The photoshoot was AMAZING! Not only did I photograph the oh-so-beautiful new baby boy, but I spent the morning photographing his older sister and brother, who built a gingerbread house in the process. It was so much fun! I will be sure to try to plan activities for kids next time I have an indoor shoot. It kept them focused and creative. They did a seriously good job on that house too! These kids were so sweet, silly and adorable. What more can a photographer ask for?

I was thrilled with the light that poured in through their windows... enjoy, enjoy.

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