The Birth of Our Daughter, Emme Ann 12.29.09

Just after midnight on December 16, 2009, Scott and I welcomed our sweet Emme Ann into the world. She was born at 12:27 am, and she weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 20 3/4 inches long.

After a 28-hour labor and vacuum-assisted delivery with our first daughter Elsa, I said many prayers for an easier time with our second. And my prayers were definitely answered. My labor from start to finish was about 7.5 hours. It was about 5 pm when my contractions started, and Scott was still at work. I called him immediately, because I couldn't believe how fast they were coming and how intense they were. He finished with his patients and we arrived at the hospital around 7 pm. I couldn't believe the progress I was making. Around 10 pm I got an epidural and thankfully was able to rest a little until I started pushing around midnight.

I delivered at Martha Jefferson Hospital here in Charlottesville, and I couldn't have hoped for a better experience. The nurses were beyond sweet, and Dr. Kelly Owens was the most professional and calming delivering physician. The entire process was so peaceful. I can still hear her saying, "Okay, just one more push and you'll have your baby." And just seconds later I did. She placed little Emme on my chest, and from that moment my life was forever changed...again.

Here is where it all started.

And here I am 7.5 hours later, crying big mascara-tears of joy.

Scott captured some amazing images of all the little details. Honey, you rock!

A few hours after the delivery, Emme went to the nursery for a bath. We decided to peek in the window and were so excited that she was sleeping right near the window. A great photo op!

An alert moment in her bassinet...I couldn't resist taking pictures of her and couldn't believe how she was looking right at me.

Scott went home for a few hours to spend time with Elsa, so I did a little more shooting...

I love this one in the hospital-stamped bed linens. I had fun passing the time taking photos, but of course I was so excited to get home. I couldn't wait for Elsa and Emme to meet. There is something so magical about watching your first fall in love with your second.

We were discharged from the hospital on Friday December 18th. Emme had developed some jaundice, so we were told to return for a follow-up appointment and bloodwork the following morning.

We all knew there was snow in the forecast, but no one imagined it would be the worst blizzard in Charlottesville's recent memory. We got over 2 feet! Scott had been battling the snow for 2+ hours in our all-wheel drive car when 3 young boys came to help him. As I sat at the window exposing Emme to sunlight, I watched Lance, Shane, and Ty give up their sledding time to help a stranger. I was so thankful, especially since we could tell by looking at Emme's color that her condition had worsened. The boys shoveled and pushed, and they were able to get our vehicle to a point where there were at least tire tracks in the road. Unfortunately our car didn't have the clearance to get through.

It was at this moment that I realized I was surrounded by angels. One of our neighbors, Dr. Chris Williams, offered to bring us to the hospital in his car – on his day off. After a little progress, we got stuck going up a big hill, and he and Scott worked for two hours trying to find anything they could – floor mats, tree branches, old towels – to gain some traction. They were freezing and soaked, and as I sat in the car with our sick baby, Chris would occasionally check in to ask if we were okay. If WE were warm enough. It brought tears to my eyes. I had no idea Scott was even missing for awhile, but the next thing I knew he showed up riding on a big tractor. He had flagged down a plow, and after being pulled out to our neighborhood entrance on a chain, we were able to make it the rest of the way to the hospital. For Chris’s extreme act of selflessness, we will be forever grateful.

This is what our street looked like.

I didn't know much about jaundice, but it can be a pretty scary thing if the bilirubin levels reach high levels like they did for Emme. After her lab results came back, we were re-admitted to the hospital, and she received phototherapy.

Thank God she responded well to the bililight treatment and we were back home again....

...just in time for Christmas. I couldn't imagine a greater gift.

This is one of the photos we are using on our Christmas card.

Our little angel.

I am so blessed. I have not just one beautiful daughter...

...but two.

And a husband who adores us all! I don't know how I got so lucky.

Thank you everyone for the prayers and congratulations! Scott and I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2010!

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Pregolicious! 12.11.09

My last shoot of the year was for someone who means the world to me -- and someone who I've been wanting to get in front of my camera for a long time. Amanda and I first met in college, and she has been the most wonderful friend to me over the past 12+ years. She is also my very last close friend to have children, so to say that I'm excited that she and her husband Johnny decided to start a family would be an understatement.

She had just returned from a vacation in Hawaii and called me to tell me they brought home a souvenir. Maybe I can attribute it to prego brain, but it honestly took me a while to get it. When I finally realized she was talking about a BABY, and not a hula skirt, I shed tears of joy. Then when I found out she was expecting a girl -- just like me -- more tears came. Amanda is one of my best friends, and I know that our girls will grow up being friends too.

Tomorrow is Amanda's first baby shower in Northern Virginia, but I can't be there because I'm due with baby #2 in just 2 days. AKA about to pop. She did so much for my first baby shower -- from Elsa's shoe fund to some super creative "non-games" -- so I hope that this blog will let her know that I'm thinking of and sending lots of love to her and Baby M.

Amanda, though not a professional photographer, knows a lot about and appreciates I was praying for a home run with her maternity shoot. What a hot mama-to-be!!!
Charlottesville Maternity Photographer

I'll let her be the judge, but I'd say we did it! We had beautiful golden light...
Charlottesville Maternity Photographer

...and it helped that she has the cutest little belly...
Charlottesville Maternity Photography

AND the most amazing sense of style! A -- this belongs in a magazine! You are beautiful!
Charlottesville Maternity Photography

LOVE this! It's such an intimate moment, with such real expressions, which is always what I'm after.
Charlottesville Pregnancy Photography

Amanda's husband Johnny is going to be the cutest dad. They live in the Outer Banks, so I'm sure he'll be giving his daughter surfing lessions as soon as she can swim.
Charlottesville Pregnancy Photography

We spotted this beautiful tree -- and it went perfectly with their outfits.
Charlottesville Pregnancy Photographer

These hay bales were pretty fun too!
Charlottesville Pregnancy Photographer

For moments like this though, I was in search of a background with nothing in it. That way I could shoot really wide open and focus on my gorgeous subjects!

What can I say? You 2 are rockstars...

And Baby M is so lucky to have you as parents. Auntie Kris can't wait to meet and spoil her rotten. Congratulations again and I love you both! XOXO Krissy

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You Make Me Smile 12.08.09

My last 2 shoots of 2009 were for 2 of my best friends, and I couldn't think of a better way to end what has been an amazing year for my business. It's definitely fun to get your friends in front of the camera, and it works out especially well when you're 37+ weeks pregnant and they can help pull you up from the ground if you get stuck. ;-)

First we have my friend Chris, her husband Brad, and their adorable 19-month old son, Alex. I have known Chris since my sophomore year of college at Virginia Tech, and over this time we have shared so much together. Never in a million years though did I think we'd end up living in the same town, but now here we both are -- in Charlottesville -- and she is a big part of why I love it here so far. From bringing me welcome baskets, to taking me to lunches, to introducing me to the music class we do with our kids, she has done so much for me in the past 3 months, not to mention the past 14 years.

Everyone who knows her will agree with me -- Chris has a heart of gold, and she and her husband Brad are the most amazing parents to little Alex. They also recently found out that they're expecting another boy this April, and I couldn't be happier for them. So of course we'll be doing a newborn shoot this spring, but for now, I am so glad I had the chance to document a slice of their family as they are at this moment. I think this shoot totally captures their love, and I can't wait to share!

We started the shoot with some portraits...
Charlottesville Family Photography

But it quickly turned over to "real moments", which I love.
Charlottesville Family Photography

Images like these are the reasons why I called this blog post "You Make Me Smile"...
Charlottesville Family Photographer

It doesn't get any more genuine...or sweet.
Charlottesville Family Photographer

Alex was way too cute in his little hat...
Charlottesville Kids Photographer

And I think he knew it. Hehe!
Charlottesville Kids Photographer

A few more portraits. Chris, you are just stunning, and I swear you haven't aged a day since college!
Charlottesville Kids Photography

Daddy's little man. Alex really had a blast getting his picture taken.
Charlottesville Kids Photography

Especially when he could run...
Charlottesville Baby Photography

And swing...
Charlottesville Baby Photography

And fly through the air. I had fun playing around with the gorgeous light we had that day. Here's what we got with the sun behind my back...
Charlottesville Baby Photographer

And here's what we got with the sun behind theirs.
Charlottesville Baby Photographer

Down for a Mommy kiss. Love it!
Charlottesville Lifestyle Photographer

Too cute for words. Alex should be a J. Crew baby model.
Charlottesville Lifestyle Photographer

To Chris and Brad, we are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you so much for being such awesome friends. Love you! ~Kris(sy)
Charlottesville Lifestyle Photographer

To see a slideshow with a bunch more favorites, click on the picture below and make sure your volume is turned up. It will take a few seconds to load cause there are a lot of pics. Enjoy!

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The "T" Family from Minnesota 12.04.09

Yes, Minnesota. Elizabeth and I went to Virginia Tech together -- we were in the same sorority, but I didn't know her too well because I was about to graduate by the time she was joining. Turns out she is now the sister-in-law of one of my best friends. Small world. I knew that she and her family had recently moved to Minneapolis, so when she contacted me via Facebook a couple weeks ago asking about getting family pictures done, I was super excited!

They were going to be in the Northern Virginia area visiting family for 2 weeks around Thanksgiving, and she said they would be happy to make a day trip to Charlottesville for a session. It worked out perfectly. I'm 39 weeks pregnant and can't travel, and since Elizabeth went to UVA for grad school, she and Tony had friends they could catch up with in the area.

So we planned our shoot for Tuesday November 17th, which was literally the only day they could get down here since Tony is a commercial airline pilot and that was his day off. I prayed many times, not only for no rain, but also for weather that would be warm enough to be outside with their 3-month old baby girl, Addison. Well, we were blessed with a perfect day, sweet light, and as per usual, I got to photograph the most adorable baby girl with the most beautiful parents. Enjoy!

I mean seriously. Addison is such a little dollbaby!

Look at those eyes! Addison was in a serious mood at first...

But that's when Daddy came in. He had no problem making her laugh.

Priceless! Thanks Tone! I'm so happy we started the shoot indoors so we could get these precious diaper shots.

Another fave. Elizabeth just glows as a new mom.

After a bunch of indoor shots, we went outside for the remaining time. First we did some Christmas shots for their Christmas card...

...which I can't wait to see. I already emailed several of these to Elizabeth, and I'm excited to see which one they choose. I love Addison's little red dress.

And I LOVED their next outfit. Plus it was golden hour time -- look at that light!

All the smiling made Addison tired, so she decided to take a nap. With my fingers crossed that she would wake up, I continued shooting through it. Elizabeth and Tone, you are too darn cute!

And Addison, she is the perfect little camera ham. She woke up nice and refreshed after only 15 minutes.

I want to pinch those cheeks!

A favorite with Dad. I'm seeing a photo wall coming in their house. :-)

What can I say guys? Addison is a gorgeous baby, and she has the cutest, happiest personality. You are such a beautiful family, inside and out, and I'm thrilled that we had a chance to work together. I know we live far away from each other, but I hope we can continue to do so when you're back East visiting family. Lots of love! ~Kris

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Baby Kate: 11 Days Old 12.01.09

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Scott's cousin Heather and her husband Ryan about doing newborn pictures of the little bundle of joy they were expecting. Needless to say I was beyond thrilled. It means a lot that my family and friends have also become my "clients". They knew me before I became a photographer (for those who don't know, I am totally self taught and my business was the best accident!), and now they put their trust in me to document their weddings and families. I couldn't ask for a greater honor.

I have known Heather about 9 years now, but Scott, as her first cousin, has known her his entire life. She is one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and we totally adore her husband Ryan and of course their brand new baby girl, Kate Elizabeth, who was born on November 3rd. Since I'm really pregnant myself, Heather and Ryan packed up the car and made the 2+ hour trip from Christiansburg to Charlottesville -- their very first road trip with Kate -- and I did the entire shoot in our guest bedroom. Just goes to show that you don't need a fancy location for a shoot. All you need is good natural light, and we definitely had that.

Awesome natural light + really cute baby = very happy me. Kate is stunning! Just look at those eyes! I'm really glad she was so wide awake for the first few minutes of her session.
Charlottesville Newborn Photographer

She was so content just hanging out in Mommy's arms.
Charlottesville Newborn Photographer

But after a feeding, she was asleep for the rest of her photoshoot, which is just what I was hoping for. Love this!
Charlottesville Newborn Photographer

Heather -- you look so so beautiful. Like mother like daughter.
Charlottesville Newborn Photography

Once we were sure that Kate was sound asleep, we put her on the bed so I could get some images of just her...
Charlottesville Baby Photography

Love the pose!
Charlottesville Baby Photography

And those tiny newborn feet are irresistible!
Charlottesville Baby Photography

Kate slept like the perfect little angel so I could capture Mommy's smiles...

And Daddy's kisses.

Heather and Ryan said they stare at her all day, so of course this quickly became a favorite of mine. They are so in love with her...

And with each other. I love this image. I was shooting quickly, and I happened to catch a moment when Ryan glanced over at his beautiful wife with total adoration. A look I have seen often. That's why I love it. It's real and it's them.

To Heather and Ryan, baby Kate is so beautiful, and we're so happy we had the chance to meet her (and so is Elsa!) when she was so brand new. It was so great to visit and catch up with you guys, and like you said, hopefully we'll be seeing you more often now that we live a little closer. Congratulations and thanks so much again for traveling to our house. Hope you like the little sneak peek. Love you! ~Kris & Scott

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