“Mother” Added to My Resume

I’ve been a mother to fur babies for 17 years and now I’ve recently added “mother to human baby” to my resume. Koda Joy Levine is brand new to our pack! She is strong, beautiful and full of fire. I loved her the moment I knew she existed and was so happy to meet her when she entered the outside world.

I am one lucky mama.

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To say that having a newborn baby has been an adjustment is a huge understatement. I’ve always respected mamas and now that I am experiencing this journey firsthand I have even more admiration for them. I am slowly adjusting to this new “normal” and will continue to do so with each passing day. I am learning and growing almost as much as my little one.

Motherhood is expanding my heart and building up my life’s resume. It will no doubt contribute to my creativity in a positive way (once I get just a littttttllleee more sleep!). I am looking forward to very soon getting back into some creative time with my photography and painting.

I feel it’s important to be honest about both sides of this gig. Motherhood for me is beautiful and incredibly difficult! (Full disclosure: I felt the same way about pregnancy!) There is so much contrast in my life right now. Within 5 minutes- or really even within 5 seconds- I can experience a large handful of very different emotions– tears of exhaustion or stress in one moment can turn to tears of joy in another.

It’s like everything is out on the table, for both this baby and myself.


I am more vulnerable now than I have ever been in my life. The experience is both beautiful and terrifying. Having a newborn has already reminded me of the preciousness of life and how quickly time passes. It has reminded me of how important it is to pay attention to who and what matters and to what fills your heart. This experience has further validated how important my job has been as a photographer. Capturing the love and connection that exists in family (fur or otherwise) has always been an honor for me, but now, I think it will be even more so as I know first hand this level of vulnerability and connection. The time really does go by quickly in many ways… I even get nostalgic over photographs I took yesterday of this little one. I am looking forward to getting back into being there for my clients and their beloved families soon with this new perspective. I do my best to be in the present moment as much as possible. Having said that, I’ve already taken a thousand photographs of this baby girl and I am sure to take a hundred million more.

We had professional portraits created by Pinkle Toes Photography when she was just 12 days old and I am so grateful to have them to cherish. I will continue to have portraits created of us as a family– primarily because I want to be part of them!
We have so many memories to create and capture and I am incredibly honored to have added this new role of mother to my life’s resume.

 Thank you to my dear friend Michele at Pinkle Toes Photography for this gorgeous portrait of Koda and me.

Thank you to my dear friend Michele at Pinkle Toes Photography for this gorgeous portrait of Koda and me.

IVF as Art

As someone who experienced many challenges with regard to fertility, I was inspired to find a way to honor my experience and journey using my fine art and I’d like to share that with you in this post.

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While I realize it’s a unique experience for each person who goes through using medically supported means of conceiving a child, IVF and everything leading up to it was both physically and mentally challenging for our family, required a significant financial investment and took a tremendous amount of time and energy.  

 

For those of us who are fortunate enough to have success with the process, it is truly awesome to witness the results unfold in front of our eyes.

 

Creating and displaying this art piece felt like a way to honor our journey and to focus on what was beautiful about it, rather than let the challenges take center stage.  

 

I created a piece of my own daughter’s beginning stages as mere cells before we transferred her as an embryo. I included colors that I wanted to incorporate into my nursery and symbolism that felt meaningful. I look forward to being able to show my daughter the very beginning stages of her life interpreted in this way.

 

  The piece shown is 30x40 bees wax, resin, pigments, photography on birch panel.

The piece shown is 30x40 bees wax, resin, pigments, photography on birch panel.

 

I am extremely passionate about creating this commissioned art for parents who went through IVF to conceive a child. 

 

The IVF art I am creating for clients is inspired by the journey and the magic of being able to see imagery of your child as just a few cells. This is just incredible to me.

 

In addition to the reward of a baby, this art piece felt cathartic to make and also to display on my daughter’s nursery wall. 

 

I’d love to talk to you about creating an IVF art piece for you, so email me or call with questions about the process and investment. 

 

Warmly, 

Norah

Combining Sights and Sounds To Curate Unique Memories

On this recent session I had the opportunity to capture the sights and sounds of life with baby Penley and her loving moms.

Creating an Audio Portrait for this family was a very special experience for them (and for me).

Since I know that life changes so quickly, especially with little ones, I thought it would be valuable to provide Chelsea and Kerry with a final Audio Portrait that represents and reflects their life right now. I wanted them to be able to watch their slideshow years from now and feel exactly how they felt while their little girl was making all of her fun noises, crawling around  house as her dog brothers took advantage of her leftover scraps of food. I knew it would be valuable to Penley to have later in life as well. We can all take snippets of videos, photos, etc., but I wanted this to be a curated piece that represented them in an artful, thoughtful way. I can’t get over Penley’s little growl and I am in love with those big beautiful brown eyes. 

I’m so inspired by creating these audio portraits for my clients. This format really allows me to dive deeper into connection on every level, and honestly that’s a huge part of why I do what I do.

Here’s what Chelsea had to say about her Audio Portrait experience:

"Norah’s creativity shines in the Audio Portrait she did for us, which so beautifully captures our baby girl’s personality and character at 8 months old. It’s amazing how she was able to deliver such a personal and touching piece— from the audio arrangement to the photo arrangement, each second of the video holds the potential for a smile or shed a tear of joy. Photographs are wonderful but having a piece like this, with a story and voices built into it, and that is so shareable and is just the right length to watch over and over again, is truly special. Norah crafted something that we intend to play at every one of our daughter’s birthday celebrations, every graduation, when she gets engaged, and married, and has babies herself!"

Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby

  Tips for Introducing Pet to New Baby

There is nothing quite like your first baby, especially if that precious bundle happens to have four legs and a coat of fur. Caring for a dog can help prepare parents for the responsibilities that go along with new parenthood, but sometimes parents-to-be can feel overwhelmed by the thought of introducing their pet to the new baby. Here are some great tips for a smooth transition:

 

Plan Ahead

If you haven't had your dog enrolled in obedience or training classes, now is the time to do so. Small behaviors that might seem harmless now, like jumping up onto your lap, can become tougher to handle when you're very pregnant or holding a baby. Try to get your pet familiar with children as much as possible, too. They are tinier and more unpredictable (not to mention louder!) than adults, so taking your dog to a friend's house with small children or to the park to acclimate him or her to small kids can be helpful. Just make sure you're always there to supervise, and be sure to take it slow.

Another important part of planning ahead is knowing who is going to take care of your dog when you go into labor. Do you have a trusted friend or family member who is going to be able to feed and walk your pup? If you're worried about being able to juggle both your dog and a newborn, a doggy daycare environment is a great idea for your pet to get socialization and burn energy while you are acclimating to your new role as a parent. If you're interested in this, start looking early and send your dog somewhat regularly so he or she is accustomed to the environment when your baby arrives.

 

The First Smell

While you're still in the hospital, consider asking your partner or a trusted friend or family member to bring home a blanket or bodysuit that was used by the baby so your dog can grow accustomed to the smell. When you take your baby home, your dog will recognize his or her scent.

When you first come home, your dog will likely greet you very enthusiastically. When he or she is calm, bring your new baby out of the carrier and sit with them -- then slowly call your dog over. Allow your dog to standby and be part of the action when you're talking to your baby and changing diapers, too. Remember that no matter how docile your dog is, you should never leave your dog and baby unsupervised together.

 

Set Boundaries.

It's ok to have designated baby gates in your home for areas that you want to declare a pet-free zone for your new baby. Make sure your dog also has plenty of access to his or her own toys and treats so that they're less tempted to chew on baby's items. Teach your baby from a young age to be gentle with your pet, and remember to never leave the two of them together unsupervised.

Do you have any tips that you'd like to share? 

 

Tips for Introducing Your New Baby to Pet

About the Author: Jessica is an East Coast girl recently transplanted to Austin, Texas where she lives with her husband, their three human children, and their rescue fur baby. She is an OB Nurse Educator by background, but has worked as a freelance writer, content manager, and brand strategist for the past few years and loves every minute of it. You can follow her on her personal blog or Instagram profile. 

Feels fresh like a newborn baby, Austin, Texas.

I'm pleased to present Nicolette, a delicate newborn baby here in Austin,  just 18 days old in these photographs. Looking at these images puts me right back to the moment I captured them. Tiny figures, tiny toes, wispy eyelashes and the fresh scent of a baby just gives me goose bumps. Photographing Nicolette was such a pure joy.  Just 18 days old! Normally I recommend photographing newborns no older than 10 days, but circumstances didn't allow for that to happen with Nicolette. The reason for photographing newborns earlier than 10 days is that they are able to fall into a very deep sleep, allowing me to photograph them and pose them without waking them. In the very first days, babies still have a strong tendency to curl their legs in, which is really sweet for photographs. Like all the photographing I love to do, patience is a key element to success and I was very pleased with the way the results of the session. It is an honor to be able to work with families during this exciting time in their lives. We had to wait for the baby to fall deep enough asleep for me to be able to photograph her. This took some time, but eventually she fell into in a deep slumber and allowed me to work with her in a few adorable poses. Nicolette's mother had purchased some precious newborn hats that she wanted her new little girl to wear for her session. (Etsy.com) For this session I used studio lighting equipment, which I set up in their home as mom was finishing the baby's feeding. Sometimes I use natural light, but for this session I chose studio lighting as my tool.  I photographed Nicolette in her home. It was convenient and comforting for the parents to not have to worry about packing up the baby and bringing her to a studio. We spent time in the comfort of their home amongst all of the things they needed for the baby and I think this was of tremendous value to the parents.

There is something extremely peaceful about photographing newborns. Sure, there are not so peaceful moments– like when the baby is unsettled, or when they have an accident (hey-that's par for the course and it doesn't bother me at ALL!) As a photographer, a peaceful demeanor is a must in this situation especially, despite the possible hic-ups. In order to soothe the baby I have to be calm and have a relaxed energy. The more calm I am, the more the baby can feel that energy during these session. And since the mother is always associated with food, it usually works best if I handle the baby for the posing as mom watches from a short distance as she keeps an eye on her new baby. It is important to me that everyone is comfortable, safe, and happy during these sessions. Nicolette's parents are delighted to have these high quality images to artfully treasure this important stage in their baby's life.

Thank you, Erin and Kyle for allowing me to create and share these images of  your amazing baby girl. Here's to an incredible first year!

 

Norah Levine is an Austin children portrait photographer and pet photographer. She photographs in homes and on location. She also travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico frequently for sessions. Please view her website for more details www.norahlevinephotography.com