Getting on the other side of the camera | Our Mommy & Me session with Sarah Zollo Portraits

I finally got on the other side of the camera with my sweet baby boy. And you know what? It was amazing, and this very first photo means everything to me.

I have been dreaming of this exact photo for months and months and months, and my heart is so happy to finally have this sweet little cuddle captured in a portrait.

mommy and me milestone session by sarah zollo, nicole starr photography

As a mom who also happens to be a photographer, I spend my days capturing all of the little moments and the big love between families. I capture the cuddles, the kisses, and the sweet way their babies wrinkle their noses when they smile. The way they reach up to hold their daddy’s hand, and the way they curl up on their mama’s chest to feel their heartbeat.

But 12 months into being a mama, I barely had any photos of me with my baby boy. We did a beautiful Fresh 48 session when Grayson was born, and a few holiday photos last Christmas. But besides blurry cell phone photos, selfies, and a couple of times that I passed my camera to someone to take a (usually blurry or decapitated) photo with my son, that’s all I have from his first year.

I have taken so many amazing photos of my son with my husband, and I love every single one of them! It is so easy to capture their relationship, and I really love looking back through their photographs and seeing how Grayson has grown and watching that beautiful bond they have.

But any photos with me in them? Almost nonexistent. And this role as Grayson’s mama is my favorite role I have ever had, which is why it is soooooo important to me to capture this in photographs!

I started taking some self portraits this year of our day to day life at home because it was so important to me to capture this stage and have some beautiful portraits to show our son as he grows so that he can see how much we loved him and adored him when he was little.

What was really missing though was a mommy & me session. I truly wanted someone else to capture these moments for us, so I decided to get on the other side of the camera when I hired Sarah Zollo Portraits in Rhode Island for a session with my sweet baby boy.

And you guys!!!! These are my favorite photos ever! I love how Sarah captured his sweet little smile, the way he hugs my cheek, those pearly teeth peeking through on the bottom. She captured his sense of wonder and curiosity about the world, his joy, and how proud he is of himself of his new skills (standing supported and butt scooting across the floor!). She captured this easy love, and how crazy happy he makes me. She captured it all, and I will never stop being grateful for making this session a priority.

mommy and me mini session by sarah zollo, nicole starr photography

So, a few things I learned while being on the other side of the camera…

It was actually really hard to find the perfect outfits for our session! You’d think it’d be easy (I mean, really — all white can’t be that hard, right?), but for some reason nothing was out that seemed just right. In the end I loved this top, and I’m obsessed with the cute blue overalls that bring out his blue eyes. I wanted to keep it very simple without any patterns or bold colors because I wanted to focus on the connection between us and have super classic portraits that I will look at 40 years from now and melt into a puddle of tears when I look at my baby boy. And these are those!

Also, photo shoot day really never goes as planned. Of course Grayson couldn’t fall asleep the night before, and while he normally falls asleep within minutes, he took 1.5 hours to fall asleep. And the morning of his session he almost boycotted his nap, too! But we made it there on time and I had a happy baby once I put his favorite song on (at the moment, it’s “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys because of the “bababa-babarbara ann” babbling part!).

When you’re caught up in the moment being a mom, you forget about things like the best angle or what might look funny on camera. You’re just focused on making your baby happy and getting him to laugh. Thankfully I had a photographer AND her assistant there to guide us and keep everything flowing naturally and beautifully. I didn’t have to point to the camera or try and get him to look their way because they were singing, dancing, and waving toys around to keep his attention and to turn those blue eyes towards the camera.

And finally, I understand how excited you guys are for the sneak peek and the gallery reveal! It was the best feeling ever when I saw these photos for the first time and when I saw how someone else sees this mother-son love. I have never seen it like that before, and it’s really amazing to be able to step back and look at this magic from another perspective.

I truly do believe that EVERYONE deserves mommy & baby portraits (or mommy & child, whatever the age!). I will definitely be making it a priority to capture this magic on camera more often with my own baby boy, and I can’t wait to offer more of these types of sessions to mamas, too.

Sarah, a huge thank you for capturing motherhood so beautifully. I love these so much, and I am incredibly grateful.

Baby Starr | A Llama Cake Smash for Grayson

Jeff and I have shared an inside joke about llamas for as long as I can remember. I think it was one of the very first weekends that we were dating when we were walking around downtown Saratoga Springs, and we saw a llama standing on the sidewalk poking its head into the windows of a bar and leaning over a table inside of the restaurant. Ever since we have spent years worth of scavenger hunts with a bonus llama category that would give us extra points.

Our family knew the llama story, so Grayson received a few gifts this year that were llama related. He has a llama for his crib, and his favorite books are the Llama Llama series — he gets so animated every time we open these books and he puts his hand down to stop turning the page so that he can really enjoy what he sees, pointing and babbling to the llamas in front of him.

So it was only natural that we did a llama cake smash with our little guy! (Who, by the way, I still can’t believe is ONE!! Where did this year disappear to?!?!)

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

This adorable llama cake lasted all of 25 seconds because our son is in a fun new stage of “I must knock everything over!!” The cake fell upside down off the cake stand TWICE within the first 3 minutes of his cake smash. He’s a talented little smasher!

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

There he is contemplating the very best way to get the cake off of the cake stand!

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

I will never grow tired of photographing little baby feet! His feet are already turning into muscular and lean toddler feet, and he’s losing the squishy padding that he used to have beneath his toes. Stop growing up so fast, baby boy!

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday
llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

The sad face was when I took away his wooden spoon! This boy loves to feed himself and he is obsessed with spoons!

Of course we finished up with a bathtub splash, and Grayson LOVED tubby time! His favorite song for bath time is “Splish Splash (I was taking a bath)”, so once it came on he was giggling and splashing all over the place.

llama cake smash for baby's first birthday
llama cake smash for baby's first birthday

My sweet boy! I love you so much, and I can’t believe that we just finished your first birthday cake smash! Where did this year go?!?!

Baby Starr | My Favorite Portraits from Grayson's First Year

Grayson turns one on Wednesday. This has been the fastest and most amazing year of my life, and it’s definitely been the year that I have taken the most personal photos! I’m so glad that I made myself commit to a monthly photo project with Grayson. It’s been amazing watching him grow, and even on the craziest and busiest months it was nice to slow down and document our little guy.

This week is going to be one big trip down memory lane, and we’re starting it off with a post filled with all of my favorite portraits of our sweet baby boy!

I keep looking at the calendar and saying, “One year ago we were getting the call from the doctor to go in for an induction,” and “One year ago we were in the hospital and this was happening,” and “One year ago…”

It’s incredible how much has happened in one year!

Our sweet baby boy arrived 17 days before his due date, and he was perfect with sleepy eyes, the creamiest skin, and fluffy blonde hair!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer  |  Down syndrome awareness and advocacy photographer
Grayson’s Fresh 48 portraits were taken at Glens Falls Hospital by the talented  Lauren Kirkham Photography.

Grayson’s Fresh 48 portraits were taken at Glens Falls Hospital by the talented Lauren Kirkham Photography.

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer  |  Down syndrome awareness and advocacy photographer

It took me three tries in the studio to do my own son’s newborn portraits. He was so difficult to settle, and he jumped with every single click of the shutter on my camera. It’s funny to see how different he looks from one newborn portrait to the next because you can really tell which ones he had gained some weight in because they were taken a week after the first ones!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer  |  Down syndrome awareness and advocacy photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer  |  Down syndrome awareness and advocacy photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer

My first Mother’s Day! Gosh, he was so little then!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer

We really do have the happiest little guy! Even when he was just a few months old he was all smiles for the camera, and all smiles when we put it away, too! I just love his personality and I’m so grateful that we have a baby who is so filled with JOY.

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer  |  Down syndrome awareness and advocacy photographer

Six months old and sitting up on his own! Little did we know that he would spend MONTHS sitting without moving on to the next physical milestone (crawling). Now at one year old, he is finally starting to butt-scoot!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer
balloon garland, 6 month milestone session, saratoga baby photographer
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saratoga springs milestone baby photographer, nicole starr photography
saratoga springs baby photographer, milestone session, nicole starr photography
lifestyle baby photographer, albany baby photographer

This boy LOVES books, and he loves putting everything in his mouth! A few of his books have bite marks and chunks missing! Favorite titles this year are:
There’s a Bear in My Chair
Fox in Socks
Ten in the Bed
The Pout Pout Fish
Llama Llama
— all of this series!

lifestyle baby photographer, albany baby photographer
nicole starr photography
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baby bear bonnet, saratoga springs baby photographer

Grayson and I took these self portraits when he was 37 weeks and 4 days old — the same amount of time that he was inside of me for!

nicole starr photography

All of our holidays this year…

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer
nicole starr photography, christmas photo session, saratoga springs baby photographer

He sleeps with this elephant, and he knows that this toy is for naptime and bedtime. It’s so sweet how it’s always in his arms when he is in his crib. He hugs it, uses it like a pillow, and tosses it across his face to block the light. The elephant is never more than a few inches from him when he’s asleep!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer

This lucky boy spent a lot of time dog-sitting Bailey this year, and he is officially obsessed with this (very tolerant and gentle) dog! His first word came at 11.5 months — DOG/DOGGIE!

family snow photos
lifestyle baby photographer, nicole starr photography
lifestyle baby photographer, nicole starr photography
grayson's first year_0005.jpg
nicole starr photography, milestone baby photographer, saratoga springs
baby football photo shoot, super bowl photo backdrop, buffalo bills baby photographer

Those thighs! He’s slimming out now that he’s moving around more, and I already miss those rolls on his legs!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer
baby valentine photo shoot
nicole starr photography, baby bubble bath photos, water beads photo shoot
self portraits of motherhood, nicole starr photography
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs baby photographer

I’ll be sharing a few very special posts this week, along with his cake smash and updated 12 month portraits! More to come soon!

Baby Starr | Peekaboo! A Simple White Studio Session with a Blanket

Grayson gets more expressive by the day, and these 9-month portraits are some of my favorites from the year so far! He received this handmade blanket as a gift at our baby shower, and he had so much fun playing peek-a-boo on the bed in our studio.

Grayson has two bottom teeth, and he has started doing a little crooked smile to show them off. It’s so cute!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer

This month he also started doing an adorable head tilt when looking up at us, and I am so happy I captured that on camera. This portrait is definitely going up on the wall!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer

Rolls upon rolls upon rolls! At 22 pounds, there is so much squish to love and kiss on our little guy! I can’t even decide which I love more — the arm rolls or those LEGS!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer

Merry Christmas from Baby Starr | Grayson's Gingerbread House Smash

A few things I’ve learned as a photographer and now first-time mom this year…

Before having a baby I said that I would have a million photoshoots of Grayson this year. My husband joked throughout the pregnancy that he was putting a limit on how many photos I could take of the baby. One thousand photos… PER DAY. ;o) I remember saving a few ideas last Christmas and thinking I would love to do so many of them next December when our little guy was here.

And then I had a baby. Once I went back to work and started juggling work & a baby, I realized that if I didn’t carve out time for documenting my son’s first year it wouldn’t happen. So I started putting it on the calendar and I am so glad I did! Grayson’s first holiday photo shoot is one of my favorites that I have done with him this year, and I am so excited to share it here on the blog!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session

Of course it was going to be clean & simple with a very minimalistic look. I adore stripes, and the majority of my closet AND Grayson’s closet is stripes. So Jeff and I picked out this cute red and white striped pajama set for our little guy’s portraits, and I chose a few bottle brush trees for the decor. The gingerbread house was enough to add some color and make it all come together!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session

Confession: I had never made a gingerbread house before this one! I scoured Pinterest for ideas and found out that they can really get quite intricate. I stayed up late decorating this little house and listening to holiday music with a Christmas candle burning on the counter. It was one of my favorite nights so far this holiday season! Now I think that gingerbread houses are going to have to become a holiday tradition as our son grows and can start adding his own creative confections to the houses!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session

Grayson loved his little gingerbread house smash — even though there wasn’t much smashing that happened because that icing held everything together like cement! He also loved practicing his new favorite skill — blowing raspberries and making us laugh!

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session

He’s my favorite little elf.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Children’s Photographer | Boston Children’s Photographer | Upstate NY Children’s Photographer | Children’s Photographer | Delmar NY Children’s Photographer | Loudonville Children’s Photographer | christmas, gingerbread house photo shoot, gingerbread house smash, baby's first christmas photoshoot, Christmas session, Christmas photos, Christmas photo session

Baby Starr | Grayson's Fifth Month

Time is flying by, and our sweet baby boy is already five months old!  Each day Grayson grows a little more into his amazing personality, those chunky thighs, and those two very expressive eyebrows!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer

We have been working so hard on tummy time this month, but our little man has decided he would much rather skip tummy time and go straight to sitting up on his own!  After weeks of sitting on our laps, we tried him out on his mattress without any support last week, and he surprised us by keeping his balance for much longer than we imagined he would!  There have been a few head bumps since, and maybe a face plant or two, but he is LOVING this new perspective! 

His favorite game is sitting in his crib and looking at us through the slats in the crib bars, and when we move to a new angle or up above the railing he follows us with his eyes and starts laughing hysterically.  It's adorable!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer

Speaking of adorable....  I had way too many favorite photos this month, so we're just going to fill the blog up with all of these cute Grayson moments!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer

Doesn't he look like he's reaching out for a hug in this one?

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer

He hasn't found his toes yet, but I know that's coming next and I'm sure by next month he'll be playing with his feet non-stop, and even getting those little toes into his mouth.  For now, he is 100% about kicking his legs -- in his stroller, on the floor, while swaddled in his bed.  Those legs are pumping up and down all day long, and he gets so excited about it that he lets out happy shrieks.

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs Albany Baby Photographer

This month Grayson spent another week on the Cape with me, and he got in lots of walks to the beach.  He enjoyed so much family time with a full house on the Cape, playing with his cousins Natalie & Nathaniel, snuggling up with my cousin Kori (who put him to sleep every time with her cozy hugs!), and walking up and down the street with Grandma to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine any time he got fussy.

We went to visit Daddy at work, and Grayson dressed up in his little suit to match Dad.  Everyone fell right in love with this little guy!

We had a lot of visitors this month!  We started off with Auntie Kirsten & Uncle Dave, and Grayson pretty much charmed their socks off.  My personal favorite part of the visit was when Dave asked, "Wait, so you haven't had 6 consecutive hours of sleep since April?!?!"  And Jeff chimed in that it was likely more like since December!   ;o)  

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Travers Weekend has always been a special weekend for me & Jeff, and we don't even go to the track!  It's always the last weekend of the summer that we love enjoying downtown Saratoga Springs, and it happens to be the very first weekend we ever got together in 2012 when we started dating.  This year our little man put on his most dapper outfit and hat and charmed all of the ladies downtown.  


Then our friend Wendy came to visit with Addie (6) and Zack (8).  This was the highlight of Grayson's month and he looooooved watching these two kids.  Zack was obsessed with Grayson and kept asking me when he could give him a bath, so of course we sudsed right up on the kitchen counter and played "Splish Splash" on the radio.  We had many playground adventures, enjoyed lots of cuddles on the couch with Addie reading books to the boys, and got in lots of snuggles with Wendy every chance he got. 

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A few milestones this month...

  • Baby G, you've discovered your voice!  You babble nonstop, and you've recently discovered this fun little shriek that you enjoy making over and over again.  Your face lights up when you "talk", and it's really amazing to watch and listen to.
     
  • You've graduated to a "big boy stroller", and you no longer need the car seat in the stroller when we go for walks.  Of course, you're very excited about this new perspective and your legs kick like crazy when we're out and about now.
     
  • We're still waiting for teeth, and those hands are constantly in your month.  You grab anything you can reach to put it in there and chomp down -- our fingers, my wrist, our water bottles, your toys.  Nothing is out of your reach!
     
  • You went to your first wedding!  Katie McIntosh & Jeff Torch got married in central NY, and you came to the ceremony.  We were excited that you were asleep in the pews, and we thought we were sooooo lucky that you would sleep the whole time.  We jinxed it, and you woke up right in time to start babbling during the vows.  
     
  • We started taking you to a chiropractor to help with your (lack of) sleep and your (excessive) reflux.  You loooooove visiting her, and you get so calm and smiley in her office.  Now let's keep crossing those fingers that this works because we are desperate for sleep and clean clothes!
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And some of our favorite cell phone shots from Grayson's Fifth Month!

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Baby Starr | Grayson's Fourth Month

I can't believe that our little baby boy is now FOUR MONTHS OLD!  

saratoga springs baby photographer  |  Nicole Starr Photography

Grayson, you charm us every single day with your sweet personality, your bubbly laugh, and those round rosy cheeks that we seriously can't help but squish and kiss all day long!  

Your personality is coming out more each day, and you really are a chill, mellow, happy baby who loves to relax.  You're very observant and you take in everything around you through those bright blue eyes of yours, and now you're starting to interact with your surroundings more now that you've discovered all the cool things you can do with those hands & feet that, as it turns out, ARE ATTACHED TO YOUR BODY!  Seriously, that was the best discovery ever for you when you realized you could make things happen simply by waving your hand through the air!

You've become a super vocal baby, and you're always testing out new sounds when we leave you by yourself on your play mat or in your crib.  It's not uncommon to hear a sudden "Whooooaaaa!" emerge from your corner of the room, and all sorts of little shrieks. 

You love "talking" to anyone that will talk back to you, and the cutest thing ever this month was when you sat on Grandpa Schwalm's lap and talked so earnestly to him, back and forth with a whole little conversation between the two of you!  You're so earnest when you're talking, and you pause for us to answer and ask you questions, and your whole face lights up as you babble away.  These photos below are a few of your "talking faces".  ;o)  

saratoga springs baby photographer  |  Nicole Starr Photography

You and I spent two weeks on Cape Cod visiting Grandma & Grandpa Schwalm in July.  You were a pro road tripper, and that 5 hour drive was no big deal to you, little man!  It was a pretty big adjustment for you to learn to sleep in a new space (we're still recovering from that one!), but you loved all of the extra cuddles and play time with your grandparents, plenty of fresh air, and you got to see the ocean for the first time!  (Though, the first two visits to the ocean you passed out the second you heard those waves, so you didn't actually "see" it until your third trip there.  Must be all those ocean sounds we listen to at night and during nap time to help you fall asleep -- they really work!!)

saratoga springs baby photographer  |  Nicole Starr Photography
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This month Daddy taught you how to stick out your tongue as a little game when you're on the changing table, and now you want to do it all the time.  It's pretty adorable.  You're also teething, and while no teeth have poked through yet, you drool like crazy and everything you find goes straight into your mouth.  Your favorite are my fingers, and you've gotten pretty good at chomping on them to massage those little gums of yours.

We've been working hard on tummy time, and while you're not the biggest fan, you've started trying to wiggle out of it.  Most babies roll.  You choose to inch forwards and sideways while on your tummy, as if you can just skip this whole tummy time thing and go straight to crawling.  Slow down, baby boy!

You adore your dad, and your face lights up every afternoon when he comes home from work.  You have the biggest smile just for him, and you're always cuddling up close to him.  You've even started to let him put you to bed at night, which is a nice little treat for you & for me!    Everyone says you look just like your dad, and you're really his little mini-me.  Lucky me, I get to share my house with the two most handsome guys!

This is the smile you give us when we say "I love you."

You really do light up our lives.  Love you lots, little man.

saratoga springs baby photographer  |  Nicole Starr Photography

A few of your firsts this month:

  • The big one for you is that you've discovered how awesome sitting upright is. You're still too little to sit on your own, but you love when we pull you up and support you on our laps (or on a table, the floor, the bed -- anywhere that puts your head above your legs!).  You get the biggest smile, and when we hold both your hands you even start to pull yourself up to sit to show us that you want to go up.  
     
  • You met Nana for the first time.  She's 91 years old, and she loved getting to cuddle her newest great-grandson, and show you off to everyone that lives in the retirement home with her!
     
  • Your first trip to Cape Cod was a success!  We went to mommy's favorite beaches in Dennisport, the ice cream shop where she used to work, and met up with a few friends while on the Cape, too!
     
  • You had your first (two!) visits to Urgent Care, where they misdiagnosed conjunctivitis both times.  Oh well!  You're a trooper, little man!
     
  • You also had your first official diaper blowout... All over mommy's lap.  It was followed by a string of funny texts to dad letting him know what had happened, including an "Omg!  It's still coming out!  I'm afraid to stand up now!"  Daddy of course said, "Good job, buddy!"
     
  • You also had your first trip to the Saratoga County Fair!  You loved the colors and the sounds, but eventually you fell asleep before we made it back to the car.  Mom & Dad's priorities?  Fried dough, play a carnival game, win a toy for the baby.  But really, fried dough.

Some of our favorite cell phone photos this month...

saratoga springs baby photographer  |  Nicole Starr Photography

Watch him grow!

Baby Starr | Grayson's Third Month

Oh, Grayson — we’re three months in!  It’s hard to believe that you are now thirteen weeks, or three months old!  I think we officially need to stop counting weeks and just count the months now because mama is so tired it’s hard to even keep track of what day it is anymore.  

saratoga springs baby photographer
saratoga springs baby photographer

BUT, you are one cute baby and full of smiles!  You're getting really expressive now, and it's so fun to watch.

saratoga springs baby photographer
saratoga springs baby photographer

You continue to make us laugh every single day.  You still have a pretty happy personality, and we can’t stop saying how lucky we are to have such an amazing and easy-going baby.  

saratoga springs baby photographer

You wake up from nap time and you look around your bed and make a few cooing noises, and when you spot my face looking down at you YOU JUST LIGHT UP with the biggest (toothless) smile.  Daddy came home from work last night and the second you spotted him you couldn't take your eyes off of him.  And that toothless smile was so big!  (Though we don’t think you’ll be toothless for long because you are drooling like crazy and we’ve got the feeling that first tooth will be here in the next few months.)  You start chattering like crazy and kicking those legs all over the place, so excited to see your mama and daddy.  It’s the sweetest thing!  We talk back, and you reply, and you really seem to think we’re having an actual conversation because we just go on and on, and you’re as happy as can be!

 

Tomorrow you're celebrating your first 4th of July, so of course we had to do a picture!

saratoga springs baby photographer

This month we celebrated Daddy’s first Father’s Day.  Your dad is so good with you, and I love watching the two of you together.  He has all of these little games and jokes with you, and the two of you are going to have so much fun as you grow up.  Daddy started flying you up in the air like Superman, and you love being able to see your home from this new angle.  There is so much to take in, and you want to see it all!

saratoga springs baby photographer
albany new york baby photographer
albany new york baby photographer

You love cuddles, and you’ve fallen asleep in Grandma’s arms more than once when she’s been watching you.  You sleep more soundly there than you do in your own bed!  You also got to meet your Auntie Kirsten this month.  It was love at first sight, and you gave her all of your biggest smiles!  We know you're already looking forward to seeing her again later this summer!


You still absolutely love your swaddle for naps, and once we put on the ocean noises in our bedroom you fall right asleep.  I am so excited to take you to Grandma & Grandpa Schwalm’s house on the Cape in a few weeks so that you can see the real ocean and hear what it sounds like!  Then you’ll be like, “Uhhhh, mom? These aren’t ocean sounds!  What’s that about?!?!”

saratoga springs baby photographer

Your new thing this month is that you have discovered your hands.  You play with the hanging toys on your playmat, and you have the proudest smile when you realize that you made them move with your hands.  You stick them in your mouth and make the loudest sucking noises as you chomp on them, too.  The first time you did that I think you startled yourself, but you’re slowly getting a bit gentler when gnawing on your own fingers. 

albany new york baby photographer

Another favorite spot for you is laying in your crib (which you don’t sleep in yet, but you love to hang out there!).  Hanging above your head is a mobile with stars on it, and you get so excited to look up and see them hanging and twirling above your head.  You coo, reach out your arms, and kick your legs excitedly when you see the stars.  I think you’re going to love your bedroom when it’s finally time for you to sleep there!

albany new york lifestyle baby photographer
albany new york lifestyle baby photographer

Now that summer is here, we're doing all of the fun summery things together!  Walking around Congress Park to look at the ducklings, taking your bathtub outside and turning it into a baby swimming pool, and going on lots of walks in the sunshine.  You really love being outside in the baby carrier and snuggling in close, and it's one of my favorite activities to do with you!

albany baby photographer
saratoga springs baby photographer
saratoga springs baby photographer
saratoga springs baby photographer

A few of your favorite things this month...

  • Dancing with mommy & daddy in the kitchen

  • Staring at your crib mobile

  • Playdates with your buddy John

  • Naps

  • Kicking your legs, and discovering what your hands can do


And of course, we have so many photos on our cell phones of our sweet little Grayson this month!  Sleeping, playing, eating, and smiling seem to be all of his favorite activities!

nicole starr photography for social media_0111.jpg

Baby Starr | Grayson's Second Month

Oh my goodness, Grayson!  How are you two months old already?!?!  Time is truly flying by, and I can’t believe how fast you’re growing and changing every day.

I look back at your one month photos (and your newborn photos!) and I find it hard to believe you were that tiny…. or maybe it’s hard to believe that you’re so big already?  Where did the itty bitty 5 lb 15 oz baby go that curled up on my chest with wide cheekbones, a narrow chin, and loose skin hanging around his knees?  In his place is a long baby with the cutest cheeks who loves to exercise those leg muscles and “stand up” when I lay him on my chest, straightening those little legs to lift his body in the air.  Oh, and the most adorable chunky thighs that I can no longer wrap my fingers around!

Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography
Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

You continue to make us laugh every single day, mostly with the strange and often loud noises that come out of your body!  This month I realized just what a loud eater you are while feeding you in the dressing room at Target for the first time — so many grunts and so much lip smacking that the other shoppers must have wondered what was behind that red dressing room door!  

I’ll also remember your second month as the month FILLED with smiles. You smile intentionally now, and your happiest time of day is in the morning after you wake up (for the second time).  We lay on the bed cooing, making silly faces, and cuddling.  In the last week or two you’ve started to love getting kisses, and when I cover your face in kisses you light up with the biggest smile.  You haven’t laughed yet, but I know that’s coming next!

You’re officially out of newborn size clothing, and filling out those 0-3 month outfits pretty quickly!  You spit up on everything (notice the bibs in these pictures?!) and have you so many outfit changes each day that we’re definitely getting good use out of all your clothes before we’ll have to pack them up when you outgrow them!  At your 2-month checkup you were 22.5 inches long and weighed 11.2 pounds.  You’ve grown 4 inches since birth, and nearly doubled your weight!

grayson two months-9.jpg
Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography
Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

Ohhhhh, those chunky thighs!!!!  

grayson two months-6.jpg
grayson two months-4.jpgSaratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

You learned how to stick out your tongue this month.  You've started doing that mostly when I give you kisses!

Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

This month was a big month for you as you spent a lot of time out & about around Saratoga Springs.  We went on countless walks with your new friend, Baby John, who was born only two weeks before you.  We visited Gaffney’s and took a family photo underneath the tree where Mommy & Daddy got married three years ago.  You enjoyed your first trip to the Farmer’s Market, and spent Mother’s Day walking around town looking for the baby ducklings in Congress Park.  You’re starting to love outdoor time, and it’s so nice getting to spend some time with you in the fresh air.  

This was from our first Mother's Day:

Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography
Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer, Nicole Starr Photography

But our favorite part of the month....  you slept through the night for the first time!  It's definitely NOT consistent yet, but you're getting better and better at night and you love the new swaddle we wrap you up in so that you're nice & snug.

grayson 05-2018-2.jpg
grayson first shots-1.jpg

A few of your favorite things this month:

  • Bathtime
  • “Say Something” by Justin Timberlake — it literally calms you down within seconds every time you’re crying.
  • Kisses
  • Walks around town in your baby carrier
  • Car rides

And a few of our favorite cell phone pictures from this month!  Notice that all of a sudden you're wearing an awful lot of bibs to catch all of that spit up.  ;o)  

Baby Starr | Grayson's First Month

Sweet little Grayson is one month old!

How did that happen so quickly?!?!  If you missed his newborn portraits, check them out here.  And you can enjoy a peek into his nursery here on the blog, too!

saratoga springs baby photographer  |  monthly baby photos

This adorable little guy has truly brought so much joy to our lives over the past month, and I can't even begin to imagine how amazing the next year (and all of those after that!) are going to be.  Jeff and I keep saying over and over again how lucky we are to have such a perfect, happy, healthy, and mellow little baby. 

He  truly has a very chill personality, and we adore his alert time because it really showcases his relaxed mood.  It happens 2-3 times a day right now, and he spends it looking around, taking everything in with those great big eyes of his.  He's very quiet when he's studying everything around him, and he lights up with the sweetest smiles and these really cute "o" faces when he purses his lips.  

Of course, like all babies, Grayson can get a little fussy at times.  We've discovered that he calms right down with music, and we're always saying, "Alexa, play Top Pop radio."  (Which, by the way, we bought an Alexa right before he was born and it's been so amazing to have something hands-free when our hands are filled with a baby!)  Ten seconds in to a song with a good beat, he is as happy as can be!  I'm attributing that to the countless hours I spent in the car with the radio on driving back and forth between Boston & Saratoga during the pregnancy -- we have a music lover on our hands!

These photos below were taken at 10 days old, and Grayson looked so tiny in his "coming home outfit" on our bed.  It's hard to believe that just a few weeks later, he's now outgrown that adorable sweater and I'll be packing it up in a box along with his hospital bracelet and footprints!  

This month was filled with firsts for Grayson! 

His first photoshoot was a Fresh 48 session in the hospital with Lauren Kirkham Photography.  He rocked it, and we've already shown his album off to all of our family members and found a special place for it on the shelf with our other albums.  I can't stop looking at it though!

With the weather warming up, he enjoyed his first visit to an ice cream shop.  We took him to Martha's Dandee Creme in Queensbury, our favorite! 

He finally discovered that he LOVES bathtime.  We put on some lullabies and he just zones out while laying in the water.

His first trip to Target was for more diapers.  Of course. 

He slept through his first walk through Spa State Park with a new baby friend. 

To celebrate Daddy going back to work at the end of the month, G-man slept 6 hours at night for the very first time!  We're hoping that continues and becomes a nightly tradition... eventually!

And he spent lots of time with the grandparents, and his aunt and little cousin who also came over to visit! 
 


Because our phones are now filled with baby photos, and because the very best camera you can have is whichever one is in your hand right this moment, here are a few favorite cell phone shots from Grayson's first month!  We're pretty much obsessed with his smiles, his cuddles, and all of his funny little expressions that melt our hearts when he's awake!

grayson iphone images

Baby Starr's Nursery

After months of planning, painting, and decorating, Baby Starr's nursery is finally finished!  It's a calm and serene space with blues and grays, and a hint of a "twinkle twinkle little star" theme -- because honestly, with our last name that was just a given!

Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer
Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer

This is officially my new favorite room in the house, and it was definitely a labor of love pulling it all together in the months leading up to Grayson's arrival.  The morning that we were sent to the hospital to be induced (which was a surprise 3 weeks early!), I spent an hour photographing the nursery and editing the images.  It was the calmest part of a very chaotic week, and I loved it!  For some reason, that little bit of nesting was something that ***just had to be done*** and hanging up the wooden G on the wall even made it onto Jeff's to-do list in those final hours before heading off to the hospital.

Most of the items in the nursery were either handmade (the curtains), refinished vintage (the bureau was originally green!), scored during a Black Friday sale (the crib and glider chair), found during date night trips to HomeGoods (the rug, baskets, and footstool), or some of my Ikea favorites that have found their way into many rooms of our home for the past 5 years (those shelves!).

Plus there are a handful of personal touches like a watercolor painting of a photograph from a beach during the vacation where we got engaged, a Buffalo Bills hat to match daddy's for this future fan, a stuffed animal we picked out during our babymoon, and one of his first ultrasound pictures to remind us how tiny he started out!   A gallery wall will be coming soon with some of Grayson's newborn and baby photos, too!

Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer
Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer
Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer
Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer
Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer
Baby boy nursery decor and inspiration  |  Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Baby Photographer

Baby Starr | Grayson's Newborn Portraits

Grayson Alexander
April 3, 2018
 

It's hard to believe that our sweet little boy has already been with us for nearly 3 weeks!  It's been a whirlwind of one day blurring into the next, the nights coming again much too soon, and so many sweet hugs and smiles with our adorable little Grayson.

Even though I've been a newborn photographer since 2012 and I have cuddled and posed dozens and dozens and dozens of fresh little babies, it's true what they say about photographing your own newborn....  IT'S HARD.  REALLY, REALLY HARD.  

It has taken me multiple attempts in the studio to settle this little boy into a deep enough sleep that he forgets that I'm nearby, and a slumber so sound that the click of the shutter won't startle him.  Seriously, there was one afternoon where I was only able to take 28 frames because every time I pressed the shutter, he startled with the "click" and shook himself awake and right out of his pose!  

But we finally did it, and I'm excited to share some of his studio newborn portraits here on the blog!  World, meet Grayson Alexander, our newest studio assistant and the cutest little baby that has stolen our hearts and has us completely obsessed with marveling over how perfect and adorable he is.  

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer

Every time he opens his eyes, our hearts just melt into a puddle.  He has the most soulful gaze, and he's pretty calm & mellow.  When he's awake he's happy and alert, just taking the world in!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer

Of course I planned a special set-up for this photographer's baby, and when I found this tiny camera prop last November I saved it just for his newborn session.  

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer  |  baby with camera prop  |  photographer baby

Grayson is a VERY smiley little baby, and his little milk drunk smiles pop up all the time and just light up his face.  I can't even believe how many smiles we captured during his time in the studio!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer

I had so much fun choosing a few new outfits for the studio collection, like this little striped one that is classic with a hint of nautical accents.  I have the feeling I'm going to be adding lots of baby boy items to our studio closet this year as our little boy starts modeling them as he grows!

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer

You'll be seeing a lot more of this sweet little boy on the blog!  

Nicole Starr Photography  |  Saratoga Springs and Boston Newborn Photographer