Baby Henschel: It’s a BOY!

GUYS!!! My best friend is having a BABY!!! What seems like forever ago, this girl, my girl, Emily freaking Henschel sent us (baby’s aunts/BFFS4LYFE) the best group text ever, a teeny weeny sonogram photo letting us know that he or she would be making their arrival this coming spring. After years of prayers and wishes, these 2 are finally about to become a 3.

Emily and I go wayyyy back. Like elementary school days. And man oh man has it been a ride. As soon as she said she was preggo, I planned a trip home so I could take these photos. This is seriously like dream come true stuff right here. Never in my life did I think that I would the one documenting their baby announcement but wow. Look at my best friend. She is seriously glowing guys. No lie, I cried big , wet soppy tears through most of the editing. I’m just so stupid happy for these guys.

We met at Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve because these fools got married at Saint Vincent and it only seemed right to continue the celebration in our hometown! It was a dreary, wet and cold day and of course, the pregnant lady was in search of a restroom, so we decided to move fast. From the beautiful red barn near the front entrance to a garden area above the fields, we were racing our way all over the property trying to soak up the last little bit of sunlight. The result was these might just be my most favorite collection of images.

“For this child , we have prayed.” 1 Samuel 1.27

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane. Funny but true story. We got engaged on the same day and didn’t even know it was happening. She was in PA, I was in TX and our beaus hadn’t told each other their plans so neither of us knew for a few days!! Somehow we even managed to go dress shopping a few weeks later! But then, the best thing happened, we got to stands beside each other on our wedding days and that is something that I am forever thankful for. Emmy has been my rock for close to 15 years now and I can’t tell you the joy it brings me to see her wish of becoming a mother come true. She even lets me rub her belly guys!!

Chad, on the other hand, is one tough cookie. As 1 Assistant Fire Chief of Pleasant Unity Fire Department, Chad is a man who bravely faces any and all obstacles head on. He’s a guy who loves riding ATVS and hanging out with this buddies at the firehouse. I never would have expected him to be joyful about taking photos. Heck, my husband hates having his portrait taken and I still force him to do Christmas cards year after year. But I gotta say, Chad wasn’t just a trooper, he was pumped. Probably being able to relax around me helped but Chad was so excited. He could have cared less about the photos. He is just so excited to bring this baby into the world and you can see it all over his face. I don’t think I have ever seen him smile so much! I look forward to seeing Chad be this little baby’s father!

What’s left to say other than CONGRATULATIONS EMILY & CHAD! I am so pumped to meet this little nugget and just love on them! Now, please send me weekly fruit size updates and belly pics. ūüôā

 

SURPRISE REVEAL/BOOM: The results of the gender reveal are in and the Henschel’s will welcome a Baby BOY in April of 2018!!! These 2 celebrated with friends and family over the weekend!

Andrew’s 2nd Birthday Portraits

Hey guys! We just got back from an a whirlwind trip home to Pennsylvania and we are just getting back into the swing of things! I had the most amazing time meeting with so many new clients, friends and family and I cannot wait to share all the Fall goodness we managed to capture while in the Laurel Highlands. Up first is this handsome little guy, Andrew!

Andrew’s Mama, Emily, reached out awhile ago in hopes of documenting her little boy’s 2nd birthday portraits and I jumped at the chance to set this up! Emily is an old friend from high school and I was over the moon for the opportunity to catch up with her!

Emily warned me that Andrew was a wild one but I don’t think “wild” is quite the right word to describe this little man. He is spirited to say the least so Linn Run State Park seemed like the perfect place to let him run wild! Because Andrew is so energetic, posing him would do no good. We planned on letting him just play in the park and I would snap as we went along.

Mama came prepared, too. She brought trucks and cars for little man to play with as we ventured into Forbes State Forest. Like every boy, the cars only entertained him for so long. Once he found a stick or a rock that peaked his interest, he wasn’t letting it go. Isn’t it funny how kids find the most joy in the simplest of things?

We hiked our way down to Slippery Rock, a favorite childhood pastime, so we could let Andrew throw a a few rocks in the stream. We took a small path over some logs ad through a few bushes until we found the perfect place to let Andrew play in the leaves! With a huge smile on his face, Andrew was climbing over all the downed tree trunks and asking Mama to investigate almost every rock he picked up! This was just the right time to capture that extra little speck of gold in his eyes! Take a look at a few of the up-close photos. This charming towhead is gonna be a heart breaker!

What you really need to know about this shoot is wrapped up in one photo. This. This photo right here is Motherhood. Emily is 9 months pregnant with their 2nd child, chasing her first born through the woods so he doesn’t jump headfirst into the freezing stream, with the biggest smile on her face! This is what I love about Mrs. Shipley. She is the kinda Mama who would rather let her little guy get dirty than stifle his wild spirit by posing him. I am so thankful for clients who trust my vision because I want your portraits to be a true representation of your child’s personality and Emily trusted me to do just that.

I kept cracking jokes about her water breaking and me pushing her in the stroller back to the car! She was such a trooper, traipsing through the park chasing her baby boy and just absolutely glowing! We couldn’t of known then but…the Shipley Family would welcome a baby girl 2 days later. Olivia Jane arrived happy, healthy and big brother is so in love!

I am so sad that I missed the birth of Andrew’s baby sister but here’s hoping that I’ll get to snuggle this munchkin and the Shipley Family’s newest little love the next time I am home visiting! It was a joy capturing Andrew’s 2nd Birthday Portraits and I look forward to hanging with this crew in the future!

Don’t forget….Dallas-Fort Worth Holiday Mini Sessions are in FULL SWING! Just wait y’all! Each and every one of these sessions is absolutely adorable and I can’t wait to share. I still have a few sessions left for the DFW area in November and December! Email me at therustienailhead@gmail.com with all booking inquiries!!

Milestone Session: Jacey & Kessa

Hey there! This session is another one of my impromptu Laurel Highland Minis and I cannot wait to share because this session in particular is a part of our Milestone Series. I have been photographing these girls for as long as I can remember and I love being able to document the transitions they’ve made over the years! Y’all, meet Jacey & Kessa!

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My longtime childhood friend, Jessy, and I had made plans to spend the morning at the park in downtown Latrobe, Legion Keener. Seeing that this place was a favorite pastime of ours, both Jess and I thought that this spot would be the perfect backdrop for the girls’ shoot.

We figured we could bribe them with swings and jungle gyms so long as they both behaved during the shoot. Which, thankfully, they did. Jace has taken on this older sister role with such grace. She helps with Baby Kessa and is constantly looking after her, holding her hand, giving her a hoist up somewhere she shouldn’t be, all the things big sisters do for you when you are too tiny to get in real trouble by yourself.

KESS+JACE_07.17-10We walked behind the park and headed towards the train tracks above the Loyalhanna Creek. After walking around the tracks for a little while, we headed down a dirt path that led us to a clearing near the water. All the while, Jacey filling me in on school, boys, how bad Kessa is and all the usual elementary gossip!

Kessa, or “Goose” as I like to call her, ¬†stumbled around the park, honking at any and everyone in her way. She was on a mission. If we turned around for one second too long, she would already be down a different path, taking off into the woods. She’s a handful, quite like someone else I know, cough Mommy cough. But, that’s what our mothers’ would call our penance. Payback for all their¬†sleepless nights.

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By the time we made our way to the water, Kessa was ready to get in. Nevermind that she was wearing white shoes or that Jacey was grossed out by all creatures residing even remotely near the creek, they both jumped right in. We had to stop Kessa from drinking the water a few times but she was loving it. She kept splashing around giggling at her big sister. And, we even managed to stumble upon a small waterfall!

Jacey resumed her big sister role and managed to help keep Kessa from diving in head first. Not one spot landed on either of their pretty dresses! Jacey especially loved showing off her “toothless” status since the fairy has recently come to visit. It really was kind of crazy seeing Jace being so grown up. I remember her running around in her diaper like it was yesterday. Isn’t it amazing how fast the time goes by!?

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And Kessa, one minute, she was this teeny tiny baby who only slept and ate and now she’s this little human running all over the place with her precious blonde locks and those big blue eyes, constantly getting into everything. It’s time like these that I wish I could just freeze her at this age. She still wants to snuggle every now and then but she’s also craving her independence. She wants to do everything on her own…until she can’t. Then she is super sweet. Anyone say heartbreaker??

Both these girls need to slow down. I feel like every time I come home, they are 2 feet taller and ten times prettier than the last time I saw them. More than anything though, I am thankful for the opportunity to not just document their lives through photographs, I actually get to be a part of their memories and play with them. Since I am gone most of the time, I really try to make an effort and show them how much I love spending time with them when I am home and I hope these photos are a reminder of our time together.

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If can’t already tell, Jess and I go back…like wayyyy back and I am so thankful for her friendship. I am even more thankful that she was the first one to make me an “Auntie”. Both Jacey and Kessa are such a wonderful addition to my tribe of little ones and boy do they know it. I don’t think it’s a secret that these girls have me wrapped around the finger. But, then again, who isn’t at this point? It’d be hard to say no to either one of these little princesses! Love ya girls. See ya soon!

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For more information on how to book your unique portrait session or for more information on our Pennsylvania travel dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

To see more of these Milestone Sessions, take a look at our other photo shoot with the Ray Girls!¬†Or check out Kessa’s Newborn Session. It is seriously the sweetest set of photos!!

Meet the Grasmick Family!

Hey guys! I know, I know. I have been blowing up your timelines with all the Portrait Sessions from my last trip home but seriously, they all turned out so cute! In fact, the family featured on the blog today scheduled their session one day prior to the actual shoot. Totally impromptu and completely adorable. Meet the Grasmick Family!

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I was introduced to Colby through our mutual friend, Kelly, and we immediately hit it off. Once she found out that I was a portrait photographer, she asked if I might be able to fit her family in the next day for a quick Mini Session. I told her to be there by 5:30 and we would make it work! I love having the chance to shoot an new client while in the Latrobe area.

Little did I know, Miss Colby just so happened to have recently become Mrs. Grasmick. She¬†married a childhood friend of mine,¬†Dave…aka “Doobie”. He had played football for my dad as a kid and in high school, his cabin was the place to be on a Friday night. I was so excited to see that Doob had settled down with such a lovely lady and even more excited to find out that they had recently had their first baby.

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To celebrate their little guy’s 1st Birthday, we headed to the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College. They have a small pond located on one of the walking trails and Mama Bear thought it would be cute to put Baby Dean in a fishing hat and give him a little pole. Seeing that Baby Dean isn’t the best walker yet, I was worried we may not be able to get a photo of him holding the rod but sure enough, this baby boy was over the moon once we put the pole in his tiny hands!

After throwing his hat in the water and hamming it up for the camera, we headed to the Lochry Block House to snap a few photos of this Mama and her boys. After surveying the grounds for that perfect light, I made sure to get individuals of both Miles and Dean with their sweet Mama.

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And, then it was Daddy’s turn for photos with boys! While Doobie lugged the baby around like a football, older brother, Miles, helped by tickling Baby Dean and making funny faces at him. The boys were perfect. Not too smiley, not too tough, just the right amount of boyish charm in each photo. I mean, look at those blue eyes!! Colby better watch out, her little guys¬†are going to be a lady killers!

I can’t stress enough how beautiful this backdrop was. The flowers are so vibrant in the Laurel Highlands this time of year. I didn’t want to do anything too girly because of the boys but I did want Colby to have a few classic images in this collection so we headed into the adjacent garden. I told Colby to just love on her baby boy. Baby Dean was wiggling and dancing around in her arms the whole time. He¬†was all smiles for his Mama.

I stood back for awhile and watched them all together as a family. Colby, the carefree boy mom, and Doobie, the first time Dad, are just about the best contrast. It may be that they have boys and Moms and Dads of boys tend to be a little more lax about getting dirty but I think it’s also just their personalities. Both Colb and Doob are loving parenthood. They have figured out how to give each child the right amount of attention and how¬†not to sweat the small stuff.

Their love story isn’t half bad either. They met on the street at the 4th of July parade in downtown Latrobe and a few months later, they headed back to the same spot to get hitched. Colby’s son, Miles, stood by and smiled as he gave his Mom away to his new step dad. Simple, sweet and absolutely perfect.

Yeah, so you could say that these two seem to have it all figured out. Or at least, they look good while trying to figure it out. Doob rough-houses the boys while Colby sits back and gingerly smiles at her new husband with their children. If I had to guess, I would say that their chance encounter in front of BC Kenly’s just might have¬†been destiny playing¬†its’ hand.

We worked our¬†way from the garden to the big red barn located near the entrance. Miles climbed up on Doobie’s shoulders for the photos which I thought was such a great touch for the photo. From their simple wardrobes to the genuine smiles on their faces throughout the shoot, you can see that¬†this¬†session was a piece of cake. We were in and out of the park in less than 30 minutes; just a family of 4 taking a walk around the park. It was an absolute pleasure meeting and spending time with the Grasmick’s and¬†I hope to have many more chances to photograph this family when I am in the area.

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To book your unique Portrait Session or to inquire Pricing, Packages and/or Travel Mini Dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I would love to hear your vision and help bring it light!

Visiting Daddy’s Alma Mater: Saint Vincent College

Hey guys! I am so excited to share this particular Portait Session with you all because I have waited far too long to photograph this adorable family! These sweet babes, Jake & Elliana, were one of the first sessions that I ever did. Elliana wasn’t more than a month old the last time I had these 2 in front of the lens and I am so pumped to see how my work has evolved since then.

If you don’t know them, it is past time you met the Greece Family! Tony, his wife, Emily and their two adorable kiddos are my first cousins. Tony is a local school teacher and Emily is the girl you go to when it’s past due for a new hair “do”. Just this past year, they moved into a new home in Latrobe, PA and I wanted to help them decorate their house with new family photos.

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We chose to set up the shoot at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College mainly because Tony graduated with his masters here not too long ago but also  because the scenery here would make the perfect backdrop for their shoot! Located just off of Route 30 in Latrobe, this place around sunset is a gorgeous stroll.

I wanted to get the “Family of 4” shots done first simply because kids have no patience and I wasn’t about to test the patience of¬†two small Greece children. We set up the first image along the¬†driveway into the Reserve. The flowers are in full bloom this year and the image would look perfect with the Cathedral in the background.

After running around in the flowers for a bit, we managed to make our way down to the big red barn located near the entrance. Since the little ones have the shortest attention spans, I figured I would start shooting the individual portraits of Elliana first and boy, is she a ham! This girl was sniffing all the pretty flowers and showing me all the pretty bracelets she had worn for her shoot. Though chalk full of giggles at first, this Mama’s girl made sure we knew who runs the show!

After snapping a few photos of Emily and Elliana in the gardens, we headed to the back of the barn to snap a few of Tony and his little guy, Jake. I was thinking of different Father-Son poses when my little buddy suggested that he sit on Daddy’s shoulders. With the barn in the background and my little buddy squealing “Angaweena!!!” to get my attention, the moment was picture perfect.

Like most Family Sessions, my sweet cousins wanted to focus on the kiddos but I always make an effort to get a few good pics of Mom and Dad together. It’s almost like after kids come into the fold, couples forget that their love story should be documented too! But, I wasn’t about to let them get off scot-free. I made sure to get a few photos of Tony & Emily posing “prom-style”.

We made our way down to¬†the historic Lochry Block House and snapped a few more of the whole family together in the adjacent garden¬†before we decided to head for a walk around the paths in the park. We passed a small pond and marched our way towards the Observation Deck all the while catching up on life and what we’ve missed since my last visit home.

It was so nice to catch up with them. But, even better spending time with the little ones. I¬†feel so lucky that after all these years, Tony and I have remained close. Like most cousins, we have this shared history of family dysfunction but beneath the surafce of forced family interaction, Tony, Emily, Russ and I have formed this genuine friendship. When they got engaged, we got the call. When we got engaged, they got the call. When they found out that their family would be expanding, we heard the news of Jake’s arrival first. Through a flood of Facetime¬†tears, I met Jake just hours after he came into this world and when I found out they were expecting their 2nd baby, I immediatey bought my plane ticket to be there¬†when Ellie was born.

During that visit back home, I had the great pleasure of photographing my new baby cousin for the first time. She was so perfectly pink, just the prettiest baby I ever saw. She had big blue eyes and the tiniest little toes.¬†I couldn’t of imagined then but later that day, Tony and Emily would honor me by asking me to take on the role of being Elliana’s Godmother. Cue the ugly tears guys.

We ended this shoot by wrapping up¬†quickly and heading to the Red Brick for pizza with our friends and family! I am so thankful for any time that I get to share with these guys especially because our time together is few and far between since I am in Texas. Tony, thank you, for being such a great¬†role model and constantly encouraging me to chase my dreams. I’ve always looked up to you and I am so happy to see all your dreams coming true. Emily, thank you, for being the best addition to the Greece Family. You are kind and God-fearing, ambitious and graceful. I could not imagine a better match for my big cousin! Jake, thank you, for dubbing me “Angaweena” and for just being the smartest cookie in our family. You are one crazy little guy¬†who always knows how to put a smile on my face.¬†And, Elliana, thank you, for reminding me that life comes full circle. You remind me so much of another sassy little girl we all used to know. Though we miss her everyday, you help keep her memory shining bright. You are a light in the world little girl and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.

For more information on how to book your Family Portrait Session, please contact me through email at therustienailhead@gmail.com and I will provide you with our Pricing and Packages! If you would like to book a session or to inquire about our Fall Mini Sessions in the Laurel Highlands and our Travel Dates, just give me a ring at 724-216-8185 and we can get you all in the books!

Garden Party with the Foley Sisters

Hey guys! I am just getting back from another whirlwind vacation home to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania and I am so excited to share a few sneak peeks of the Portrait Sessions that I crammed in during my visit. My first session was a long overdue play date with my younger cousins, Kaylee and Ryan! Their Momma is my first cousin and we have been trying to work her family into my books for months now!

We decided to meet at one of our family’s favorite restaurants, Rizzo’s Malabar Inn. In fact, Russell and I had our Rehearsal Dinner here. Settled into¬†the quaint, country farming community of Crabtree, Rizzo’s has grown and evolved over the last 75 years from a small sub shop during the coal mining days into a fine-dining establishment with a massive banquet hall and outdoor patio!

After initialing launching Bar Rizzi, the company chose to adapt the space to fit the needs of their clientele. They turned the Bar into a Banquet Hall. Weddings, company meetings, baby showers and many other events have graced the adjacent ballrooms but the staff still felt like something was missing. Just this year, Rizzo’s chose to add on an outdoor ceremony site, a gorgeous water feature and they even added a Fireworks Package for those who book the space.

Because these little girls have a Daddy with a major hookup at Rizzo’s (He’s one of the longtime chefs!), we were able to sneak out onto the property and use this location as our shoot site! I must say, Rizzo’s has done a fantastic job with the space! The pergola is simply decorated with Boston Ferns and the water feature was exquisitely designed making this site a perfect backdrop!

We spent the first half of the morning frolicking through the freshly planted flowers and practicing our best dance moves! Kaylee was her usual self; quiet, reserved yet silly and polite at the same time. From the time that she was little, she was always good at taking direction and this shoot would be no exception. She patiently waited for instruction and followed them meticulously. You could tell that she has come into herself over the years. She knew which side was her “best” side and which smile was her “best” smile. She has become quite the little lady and I am so proud of her for being so responsible all the while maintaining her childlike wonder!

Ryan, on the other hand, is Kaylee’s opposite. She is crazy and wild and has a short attention span. I guess that’s the way it goes with sisters. Ryan is constantly moving. Whether she is exploring a new place¬†or telling a story, there are always a lot of ideas running through her little mind. She told me all about her summer plans and how NOT excited she was to go back to school in the fall.¬† Ryan is a handful, in the best of ways. Even when she was a baby, she could find a way to keep the whole family in stitches. We are kindred spirits in that sense and I am so happy to see that someone else on the Miller side of the family,¬†besides me,¬†got the “wildchild” gene.

We ended our shoot by jumping in the water. I had promised them in the beginning that if they were good, I would let them get dirty and play in the water feature. Both girls were so excited when I told them it was time to make “Martha Washington” hair! They built houses with the rocks they¬†found in the riverbed and even tried to climb into the massive water bowls at the base of the fountain. We ended the shoot by drying them off and giving them both their first photography lesson. I let each of them have a turn at taking a few photos! I loved getting to spend some time with my baby cousins and I look forward to seeing them every time I come back to visit!

For more information on this location or how to book your next event at Rizzo’s, head to www.rizzosmalabarinn.com. And for information on how to book your Portrait Session or to learn about our Pennsylvania Travel Dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Laurel Highlands Portrait Session

These 2 goofballs are back up on the Blog! Their first official photo shoot took place at a waterslide at Linn Run State Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Today, we are not going to talk about the shoot. You guys know the speal, We took pictures in a park and it was super awesome.¬†Instead, we’re gonna chat a little about having these buttheads for baby sisters and the wild ride it was been.

The first thing you should know is, my sisters are 18 and 16 years younger than me. ¬†I’ve been out doing the whole college-marriage-adult thing while they have been dancing on stage at the Palace and learning to play the saxophone. In the past, the girls would talk about my brother and I to their elementary school teachers and they’d laugh and think “How long have I been teaching?“, knowing very well it had been more than over a decade since a Greece had last sat in their class. It’s amazing how kids can do that to you. Abbie actually asked me one time what Saved by the Bell was and Gabbie has no idea how truly awesome NSYNC’s Christmas album is. They have no sense of 90s culture and it breaks my heart. But, they have taught me about Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Ed Sheeran, Zac Efron, Ruth B and about a million other things.

My sisters have also taught me that life is this huge circle and and we just keep going round. It’s true what they say. Time flies. It feels like just yesterday that they were swimming in the baby pool with Reyna (my pup) at my old house on Tollgate. They loved that little pool. We pretended Reyna was the shark and she was gonna get them and we ate popsicles and pretended the Barbies were mermaids. And, then I blinked. Now it’s all Twenty One Pilots and Harry Potter, Selfies and Makeup. The world was much simpler back then.

¬†Truth be told, getting to be there for all their stages of life has been one of the greatest joys of mine. It’s all in the little things. Like, how they love to sing old Stevie Nicks jams in the car or how they are in constant search of their Troll dolls and how they always wanna go to the Skate Hop. I mean…deja vu much? Guys, this is stuff we all did, 20 years ago!

It is crazy to think that I used to worry about our age gap. Schmage Gap! I’m hip. I’m cool. Or, at least I’m gonna try to be because I always want these girls to know that they can come to me with anything that is weighing on their mind or peaking their interest. That’s what it’s all about, right? Being their role model is something that I was never prepared for but somewhere along the way, I found a rhythm that worked. Abriana and Gabriella have taught me to look at the world with a different set of eyes and I am thankful for them. In a way, they have always kept me grounded yet always looking towards the future.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME: My name is Angelina Norris. I am natural light photographer¬†based in Dallas-Fort Worth,¬†with roots in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. I specialize in¬†family and lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on real moments. I believe that the best portraits are a combination of ¬†genuine intimacy and playful experience. I live for the opportunity to test out the waters of new shoot locations and discover new places all around the globe. If you would like to book your unique portrait session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.