Thursday, March 28, 2013

Newborn Twins - a Very Special Portrait.

Hearts entwined, twenty fingers, twenty toes,two sweet babies with cheeks of rose.
Born on the same day, two gifts from above, lives entwined, two babies to love.
                                                                                                                                   Author Unknown

I adore twins, they are so special. We have twins in the family - my niece and nephew who are now 12. It's amazing how alike they are...and how different. 

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have our 3rd set of twins in the studio for a newborn portrait and they were absolutely adorable. Little Georgia and Jack and they were so different, she was tiny and he is pretty big for a little guy, their complexions were different and their personalities too. Jack was happy to be put in any comfy spot where beautiful little Georgia needed everything to be just so...which is as it should be. A girl can't just drop off to sleep any old where you know!

What amazes me about twins is how they settle when you put them down together. I bet there are a whole lot of mother's of twins just screaming at their computer screen about now!! But in all honesty, with the few sets of twins we have done newborn sessions with, they have almost breathed a sigh of relief and settled right off once we had them curled up together.

Georgia and Jack were so sweet - they even stole my heart by smiling...not at the same time though, I'm going to have to get them to work on their timing!

Aren't they just the sweetest little things?

Little Jack wasn't shy about showing off his smile.

Georgia, so delicate and beautiful.
Two peas in a pod.

A big thank you to their lovely Mum and Dad for sharing their gorgeous babies with me - they left with a little piece of my heart.

Alicia xxx

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Very Special First Birthday Portrait for Eva!

All babies are special and a first birthday portrait is a very popular way to celebrate this major milestone in their new lives. This baby girl, Eva, and her Mum and Dad have a very special story - one of hope, determination and absolute joy.

Little Eva was given only a 1% chance of survival when her Mum's water broke very early on at only 16 weeks. Her chances were slim and her Mum was at risk too, infection for both of them was a very real possibility. Her Mum and Dad (Cristy and Jasper) had to have conversations that no parent should ever have to live through. There were questions asked and decisions, really tough, unimaginable decisions that had to be made. I can't begin to imagine the pain, heartache and fear that these first time parents must have gone through.

Throughout everything, in utero, little Eva's heart was beating so strong - every visit to the specialist showed that this baby girl was growing, even with all the odds stacked against her. Her Mum and Dad knew that it would be long, tough road but that tiny heartbeat, so strong and determined, made their decision for them. If she was prepared to fight, then so were they.

Eva's mum Cristy told me that when this all happened at just 16 weeks gestation, she did what we all do and looked on the internet to read about other people's experience in a similar situation. Out of all the stories she found, only one of them had a positive outcome...all Cristy could do was worry and wait. She stopped reading and focused on that little heartbeat within. For another 12 weeks, Cristy and Jasper willed their little girl to stay where she was, to stay safe and to continue fighting. Her strong little heartbeat never faltered.

At just 28 weeks on the 1st March 2012, little baby Eva arrived into the world and for all the challenges she had faced she weighed in at 1.4kg  (3lb 1 oz) which although still tiny was an amazing result. Eva had a two month stay in the NICU and was allowed to go home with her family on the 6th May 2012.

If ever there was a tiny miracle and a story that just had to be told, Cristy, Jasper and Eva is it. A gorgeous family given very little chance of seeing their baby girl, that managed to overcome so many challenges...

When this gorgeous little girl came in for a portrait session to celebrate her first birthday, I knew we were in for something very special - she is adorable! She had the best fun, she was happy and smiley and was a complete natural in front of the camera. Her mum bought the top layer of her Birthday Cake in and teamed the most adorable little matching dress with it - all pink with white polka dots and Minnie Mouse ears to top it off. Eva did a fantastic job of demolishing her cake and celebrating in true style!

How super cute and cheeky is she?

Just look at those eyelashes - I'm in love!

Thank you Cristy and Jasper for sharing your darling little girl with me. Your story touched my heart. I hope that in future if someone is going through a similar situation, when they get on the internet to read about other people's experiences, they will find your story and know that there is hope. You are both amazing and your little girl is an absolute delight.

Alicia xxx

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Liz's Birthday Present. A Gorgeous Family Portrait in Luddenham.

Late last year I was contacted by a lovely lady who had a wish for her upcoming birthday present. Liz wanted a Family Portrait with her husband, her sons, their wives and her four gorgeous grandsons aged 6,5,3 and 1.

They were all growing up so fast and with some of the boys living up the coast, getting everyone together was a challenge but not for Liz. She knew what she wanted and had the perfect plan to make it happen! The entire family was getting together at the family's gorgeous home on a rural property in Luddenham near Penrith to have a weekend of celebrations, so that was our moment!

A couple of weeks before our Family Portrait date, I went out to their home to have a look at the location and found some spots that were going to be great for their portrait. One in particular was an old plough that had been in the family for a very long time - it was perfect! Plus their driveway and garden area was going to give us plenty of options to create very different looks that were unique to their family.

With lots of kids (and grown up boys!) if was fast furious fun at times and Liz's daughter in laws did a great job of keeping the little boys entertained - the big ones did a pretty good job of entertaining us! We managed to get several different settings with the whole family and also the kids on their own and all the different groups within the family. The girls even did a super Charlie's Angels pose that had everyone laughing.

The kids were super cute and I simply loved the photographs we created of the four of them together - aren't they adorable?

Liz and her boys.

Liz, John and all their Grandsons.

The family - just being...a family!

I am so happy that we were able to help make Liz's birthday wish come true. The family now has some gorgeous Wall Portraits on display in their home that I know they will love and laugh over for many years. 
I love the Storyboard that Liz put together as well.

 And the ultimate Family Heirloom piece was the gorgeous Coffee Table book that includes all of Liz's favourite images from her Family Portrait Session. This is something that your grandchildren's children will look through those pages in years to come and know just how their family was way back in 2012. 

Liz, I have to thank you. It was wonderful to get to know you and your lovely family. It was such a pleasure to work with you and I hope you love your Family Portraits as much as I enjoyed meeting you and it was an honour to play my little part in making your birthday wish happen.

 Much love Alicia xxx

Sunday, March 3, 2013

NNICUPS Fundraiser in Penrith.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Nepean Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Parents Support team (NNICUPS) 21st Birthday Celebrations - and what a fantastic night it was! The girls from NNICUPS work tirelessly to raise funds for Nepean NICU and had an amazing set of donations for their silent auction.

Up for grabs - a gorgeous handmade quilt, a Pandora charm bracelet, luxury pamper packs, Garmin watches, a signed Australian Footy Jersey, a Cockatoo Island camping package, a gorgeous Tile Package (perfect if you are doing renovations), baby packs, photography sessions, the list went on and on and it was as fantastic as it was huge.

Then there was the Lolly buffet....for a donation you could select your favourite jelly beans, cobbers, M&M's, giant white chocolate freckles, Lindt Lindor balls, raspberry bullets (oh yum) snakes, gummy bears, lollipops - it was a lolly lovers paradise! Hula dancers, a great singer, Tim Ross hosting and lots of dancing at the end of the night - not for me though, my feet hate high heels and had just about given up by then!

Rebecca and Lawrence from Origin Fitness launched their 12 Hour Challenge that will be held on 25th May 2013 and will be a fundraiser for the NNICUPS Team - if you would like to take part in the 12 Hour Challenge, help out or simply make a donation, swing by their Facebook Page to find out more.

We were lucky enough to be on the same table as the wonderful nursing staff from the NICU. These wonderful ladies perform such incredible work, it was an honour to chat with them throughout the evening. Caring, sweet and funny, their stories are moving and emotional...Hazel told me of a 15 year old boy that came up to her in the supermarket and thanked her for smacking his bum when he was a baby...and he would forget to breathe. They told stories of the Mum who brought her NICU baby back to the unit recently as he was about to start university...Funny, emotional stories full of strength, resilience, dedication and love. My hat is off to you ladies, you are wonderful.

Everyone single person in the room last night was there because they know someone that had a baby in the NICU, they have had a baby in the NICU or they are related to someone that has been in the NICU. On occasions I have had the opportunity to chat with NICU Mum's, to hear their stories, their pain, their journey, their setbacks and their triumphs. It is a journey that I guess you can never fully understand unless you have been there and that is why the NNICUPS team are so very important. Not only do they raise much needed funds for the unit but, they have all been down this path before. They know how it feels to be confused, to have questions, to be frightened. And those girls are there for new parents that find themselves in the same situation. To help with the questions, to be able to KNOW what they are going through, to tell their own stories, to let parents know that they are NOT alone, to show them there is hope, to share their journey with them.

The contribution the NICCUPS team make to our local community is amazing and selfless. If you can assist in any way - fundraising, donations or lending a hand, please visit their Facebook Page to keep up to date with their fundraising efforts.Thank you girls for the work that you do - you are amazing and so very appreciated.

Finally, I would like to extend my congratulations to the winners of our auction items - there was some fierce competition going on there ladies! I can't wait to see you and your little ones at our Enchanted Garden and Granddad's Garage Theme Days!

Til, next time!

Alicia xxxx