Claire.

IMG_9706 copyWelcome sweet Claire. IMG_9777She was a bit older when we got together for our session.  Her Mom wanted a more traditional, soft, baby girl look.  I think we definitely accomplished that!IMG_9769She didn’t want to sleep for me…and I tried all of my tricks….but we finally got her to snooze just enough for some beautiful relaxed shots.IMG_9750I love this…she looks like a mermaid.IMG_9745IMG_9811IMG_9833I love the dramatic black I white shots…especially of those tiny fingers and toes.IMG_9880Just as I was about to shift her pose, she smiled.  I just barely caught it.  I love baby smiles!IMG_9903IMG_9916IMG_9686IMG_9864She did not like tummy time but we got all sorts of sweet & snuggly side poses.  IMG_9694IMG_9960In Mamas arms…the safest place to be.IMG_9750-3And, finally, one with her very special quote.

XO

Ivy.

(I’m departing from my normally cheerful blog posts to talk about a subject that is often not discussed but is in my heart. Shared with permission from the family.  This blog post is about term stillbirth.)

When I first met Sharon it was where we meet so many people these days…on social media.  I had listed some artwork that I was selling and she responded about purchasing it.  She saw that I was a photographer and mentioned that she was expecting soon and might want to get some newborn photos done as this was going to be their last baby.IMG_0149We discussed the process, I sent photo samples, we made plans.  I was excited to capture their newest family member.IMG_0201I thought we would meet prior to the session as she was going to be picking up the artwork but, as things would have it, a fender bender and life in general got in the way until the weekend that we finally had a firm time.  She never showed up.IMG_0005By Monday I was thinking about her so I dropped her a note to see if she didn’t come because the baby had arrived.  I had no idea that my jovial little reminder might be anything but that.  Until I received her reply…

“You have been on my mind to contact! Unfortunately she was born still yesterday morning. 😢

My heart sunk….my eyes welled with tears…I didn’t even really know this woman but, I immediately felt her pain.  There were no words….I wasn’t sure how to respond.  I hope that I said the right thing.  As a mother myself who had worried about this same thing many times, I couldn’t even imagine how she found the strength to write back to me.  IMG_0048Growing up I never knew anything about stillbirth.  No one every talked about it.  In fact, I distinctly remember a day in my teens when I was talking to my Dad and he casually mentioned that he had had a brother. What?!?!  How did I not know this?  Apparently his brother Charlie had died as a baby.  I don’t know if he was stillborn or not (because no one ever talked about it) but I knew that he had been born and died and there was no record of it.  My Dad didn’t even know what happened to him.  When I mentioned this to my Mom, she told me that she had also had a brother (eerily also named Charlie) who had died as an infant.  Again….no idea how it was that I never knew this.  Somehow the idea that these two babies had been born and died and no one ever talked about it seemed unbelievable to young me.  I asked a thousand questions and got no answers.  Both of my parents told me that their Moms didn’t discuss it because you just didn’t back then…end of story.  IMG_0064Fast forward to my adult years….I now have several friends who have lived through similar losses and I have seen the difference in their experience.  They have openly discussed it, joined support groups, comforted each other and, most of all, celebrated the children that they have lost.  What a difference from my Grandparent’s generation! IMG_0240 Sometimes they would post articles about how this topic is still so taboo in our society and I would read them to learn more.  According to the March of Dimes, stillbirth is the death of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy or during birth and around 23,600 baby are born still in our country every year.  Sometimes the reasons are obvious and sometimes they are considered unexplained.  These parents are left with the difficult task of telling everyone that their happy day has turned suddenly sad, and forevermore figuring out how to answer the common question “How many children do you have?” without feeling a sense of panic.IMG_0140So…what have I learned…unlike other deaths where there are shared memories, stillbirth is different. When a child is stillborn, those shared memories don’t exist, so they are robbed of the opportunity to talk about and remember their child with others.  Death is hard to discuss – particularly the death of a baby before it is even born.  I feel strongly we need to challenge ourselves and be more comfortable talking about stillbirth.  As one mother said…”I found people not mentioning her the hardest thing of all.”IMG_0116Sharon bravely shares her story on her personal blog, where she explores her feelings as she has been moving through the grieving process.  You can read her story here… Ivy IMG_0131 After I expressed my condolences and we talked a bit about how she was doing, our lives went on.  Me, dealing with my own busy family and her learning to cope with her new normal.  But my mind kept going back to her…wondering how she was doing, thinking about baby Ivy.  I wanted so badly to be able to offer comfort, support, anything to this woman that I had never met but felt such a connection to.  And finally, it hit me, I could offer something.  I sent Sharon a note checking in and letting her know that I would love to offer a special photo session for her sweet family.  Something to make them smile, to capture them together, to offer hope.  And she responded with a big YES!  IMG_0241Not only was she excited to do the photos but she also wanted to include Ivy.  I was thrilled.  The hospital had taken photos of the baby while they were able to spend time together and she had hoped to include one in our session.  IMG_0237When the day of our session arrived, I was excited to finally meet in person.  Happy to meet her husband and her cute, feisty children.  To see the love that they had for baby Ivy and each other.  I have to admit to tearing up a bit when posing them with Ivy’s photo.  IMG_0247I hope that my photos will bring Sharon and her family joy.  I hope that writing this article and sharing her story will help others in similar situations and will dispel the taboo that surrounds this topic to this day.IMG_0125I know that I will never forget baby Ivy.

Beautiful girl.

XO

Katy

I love maternity sessions!  I know I probably say it all the time but it’s true.  It’s such a beautiful time of hope, beauty, excitement and anxiety.  All of those emotions combine to create the most beautiful photos.IMG_5338Meet Katy.IMG_5323IMG_5304IMG_5348Katy was a winner in my 2017 Wheaton Moms Give A Way.  When we met for the first time I was surprised to find that we had a connection…her step daughter and my son were friends at school.  Small world!IMG_5214IMG_5255IMG_5280I was excited to meet her and her beautiful family for our photo session on what turned out to be a very warm and sunny but also windy day.  I was also excited to meet this little sweetie.IMG_5259We started out with a few photos of the whole family and then let the girls take off so that we could focus on the couple and their ‘bump’.IMG_5339We started our session in one of my favorite spots.  It never disappoints.  Gorgeous trees and green space combined with some nice buildings and a pond.  Then we moved on to my urban location.IMG_5488IMG_5517I love the vintage brick and architectural details and try to include those in the photos whenever possible.IMG_5476IMG_5556IMG_5563IMG_5609She had such a sophisticated vibe….like working with a professional model!IMG_5580IMG_5859IMG_5880A few of my favorite spots….the cool blue doors, a sweet alley (yes…I make people dance in the alley!), and to commemorate the area a little shot of the Wheaton Theater.IMG_5758IMG_5802She wanted to include a few items to honor her husband’s military career.  I love it when people incorporate special items into our sessions.IMG_5933Three locations, tons of great photos, one special couple.

I can’t wait to meet the new addition!

XO

Grayson is 2!

It is always an honor to be entrusted with taking special photos for someone that you have known for a long time.  We met Ashley when she was only 4 years old and we first moved into our current home.  Her Grandmother lives next door to us.  She was an important part of my children’s growing up and we have fond memories of many summers spent together.  She was a huge help to me with my children and now it’s hard to believe that she has two children of her very own.IMG_4690Meet Grayson.  Isn’t he so cute!!IMG_4707Grayson just turned 2.  We spent a little time capturing some sweet photos of him to commemorate this special birthday.IMG_4695IMG_4750As with most 2 year olds, he was not thrilled about our ideas.  There was no posing going on so we had to capture our photos on the run…IMG_4820He was interested in playing with the balloons and then with the cars.IMG_4916IMG_4920That gave us some time to snap away.

IMG_4893And, of course, he loved my puppies!IMG_5053When our studio time was over, we went outside to play and that’s when the real smiles came out.  Even though the background wasn’t so wonderful, I kept snapping to capture some of those happy times.IMG_5086IMG_5092That face!!  I could not get enough…IMG_5094IMG_5140IMG_5193IMG_5199This boy loves his Mama.  And, we do too!  Thank you for letting me be a part of this special photo session.

Happy 2nd Birthday Grayson!

XO

Carli

When I got the call that this Mom hoped to include a live bunny in her daughter’s Easter/6 month photo session…I panicked a little.  Where would I get a nice, friendly bunny to spend a couple of hours in the studio?IMG_2946  I asked on my Mom’s group and got such a negative response that I was forced to take my post down. Seriously?!?  I have rescued and released 12 abandoned baby squirrels, adopted pets from rescues, and generally am the most animal friendly person ever.  I wasn’t going to buy a bunny and then abandon it at the end of my session!  I just wanted to borrow a friendly family bunny for a couple of hours.IMG_2961Just as I had given up on finding a bunny to borrow, my daughter overheard us discussing the situation and told me that her friend happened to have a pet bunny.  What?!?!  I have no idea why I didn’t just ask her to begin with .  So I called his Mom and she said “Yes” and our bunny session was on!IMG_2985Sassy was the happiest, softest, and sweetest bunny ever!!  Seriously…I could not have asked for a better bunny to pose with this little cutie.IMG_3415IMG_3414IMG_3440We had so much fun watching her reaction to the bunny.  She made the best faces!IMG_3009Once the bunny photos were over…we moved on to the other Easter setups in my new studio.  I am pleased to say that it went really well and it was exciting to know that I could photograph an older baby in studio.IMG_2793IMG_3002IMG_2905We also did a few shots with different looks and with the bunny ears.IMG_3217IMG_3101IMG_3084IMG_3088And, finally, we took some more traditional 6 month photos without all of the Easter trappings.IMG_3049I just love her with the hot pink!IMG_3676IMG_3595I had so much fun with Miss Carli. She is a doll with smile that lights up a room.  I love that I photographed her Bump session, newborn photos and now 6 months!

I look forward to our next session today….cake smash!!

XO

Meet Abby…

Back in January I sponsored a little give-a-away in a Facebook group that I am a member of.  It was my way of saying ‘Thank You’ to this group of women who supported and encouraged my business over the past year.  This Mom was one of the winners of a complimentary newborn photo session.

Meet Abigail…IMG_2008 copy 2She is a sweet, yummy, little gal that gave me lots of opportunity for baby snuggles!IMG_2014IMG_2012IMG_2123IMG_2126IMG_2129I love the simplicity of neutral colors but I am also a fan of pops of color…IMG_2039IMG_2054IMG_2082IMG_2105And she is the first baby to take a photo in my new ‘nest’ prop.  IMG_2068IMG_2077And, of course, I love black and white newborn photos…IMG_2002IMG_2029Abby brought along her cute brother who was a natural model…IMG_2192IMG_2209IMG_2255IMG_2217And her parents of course…IMG_2279IMG_2295IMG_2167IMG_2324IMG_2312And, because I am making up samples of some of my new photo line that includes wording added to the photo….great for birth announcements, photo books and framing, I did a little bit of practicing on some of their photos.  Bonus!!IMG_2118 2Look for a blog post devoted to this new line….coming soon!

Booking for Spring now…

XO

Fun x 2….Twins!

I was recently invited to spend a morning with these two cuties!  We chose an In Home Lifestyle session to celebrate them turning 6 months old.  Sometimes lifestyle sessions are better for small children who are happier and more comfortable in familiar surroundings.

I asked their parents to come up with some fun facts about them at this point in their lives and then we made up these collages that can be printed like photos and framed.  It’s a fun way to keep track of the little things that you think you will never forget….but do.Elsie CollageTJ collage 2Lifestyle sessions are meant to tell a story.  The story of you.  I like to take some snapshots of things around the home that are meaningful to my clients or represent where they are at that time.IMG_0455IMG_0461IMG_0460Of course I also snap some great shots of the kids. IMG_0876IMG_0873IMG_1064And I always bring along some lights and simple props to get some more ‘studio like’ shots for framing.  IMG_0582IMG_0641IMG_0652IMG_0910Of course I like to include the parents.  Sometimes they protest….they aren’t looking their best, their hair isn’t great, etc.  But I like to explain that 1. I have photoshop. and 2. Your kids won’t care some day when they look back at these treasured memories.IMG_0777IMG_0756I love black and white photos.  A good black and white photo can elevate something simple to something amazing.  Little fingers….tiny toes…those long eyelashes….and, most importantly, the cute little butts!IMG_0846IMG_0805IMG_0463IMG_0860IMG_0928IMG_1024IMG_1097These two were simply the cutest!  They made my job so easy.IMG_1267IMG_1254IMG_1226I love this shot of them holding hands.  Sweet.IMG_1109Lifestyle sessions come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be an hour snippet or encompass an entire fun day.  If you are interested in exploring a Lifestyle Session for your family…let’s talk!

XO

Camila~Newborn Photos

Here I am…back to playing catch up.  I don’t post about every session but some are just too good not to share.img_0529You might remember that back in February this sweet couple contacted me to do their maternity photos.  It was unseasonably warm outside so I was excited to find a location that allowed us to create nice photos that didn’t look like the middle of winter in Chicago..like this…img_0563A few weeks later I got the call that baby Camila was on her way!  We had intended to do a hospital session but things didn’t go quite as planned and we ended up having to change up to a more traditional newborn session a few weeks later.

So…introducing….HeaderInformationCamila CollageIMG_0350IMG_0270IMG_0172IMG_0196IMG_0050IMG_0038And my very favorites…IMG_0244IMG_0260IMG_0257I rushed to complete this rainbow blanket just in time for her arrival.  I love this hippie flower headband that goes along with it.

She was such a sweet girl and we really captured her dainty beauty.

Stay tuned for a few more ‘catching up’ posts…it’s been a pretty busy spring for sure!

XO

A Family Session….

Time to catch up on my blog.  Good intensions.  It’s been such an uncharacteristically busy Spring….in a good way of course.  I am going to play a little bit of catch up and post some of my sessions from a few weeks ago.IMG_9551This little family is about to grow!  While they are excited to welcome their newest member, they also wanted to celebrate while they are still a family of three.  We snuck in a quick family session on one of our wonderfully warm days in the park.IMG_9583This sweet guy is a typical toddler….busy…busy…busy!IMG_9612  We decided that trying to keep him down was not in the cards so we did more of a lifestyle session embracing who he is at this moment.IMG_9750IMG_9628IMG_9747IMG_9811IMG_9843I love when people include their beloved pets in their photo sessions.  I always try to capture a few pet photos while we are shooting.IMG_9699And, since Mom never had a maternity session….I sent the boys away to play while I snapped up a few photos of this beautiful Mama.IMG_9725IMG_9710IMG_9733And back to the family for a few more shots before our toddler was done for the day!IMG_9686IMG_9843IMG_9857IMG_9853Now I’m anxiously awaiting their new arrival for our newborn session…coming soon!

XO

Robbie’s Birth Story

When I first heard that people were doing Fresh 48 birth stories I thought to myself…WOW!  What a great idea.  I wish someone had taken the time to record those first few days with each of my children.  I feel like they were lost in the blur of the new baby and my own recovery.

 I was so excited to be there to welcome Robert Lee Ray into this world last week.  His birth did not go off quite as planned but, in the end, this perfect little guy finally joined us.img_9999And here’s a little snippet from his birth story…img_9815img_0059img_9781img_9777img_9776img_9797img_9800img_9845img_9830img_9837img_0035img_0024img_9932img_9928img_9893img_9889img_0013img_0008img_0101img_0110img_0185img_0115img_0199img_0071img_0124I am so happy to have photographed the maternity and birth story photos for this sweet family and I am looking forward to our newborn session together.

If you are interested in having a Fresh 48 birth story session….please reach out to me to discuss the details and get on my calendar as soon as possible.

XO