child and family photographer

2018 year in review | Priscilla Baierlein Photography {lexington ky family lifestyle photography}

Hi, friends! Happy New Year? I have been a bit in hiding. Only peeking my head out a couple times online. I’ve taken the beginning of this year to dream, plan, and make lots of changes to this little business of mine that will help us better serve you with all the love we’ve got. More to come on that. First I wanted to take a few minutes to share a little practice I’ve been doing over the last few years where I take a look at the year that just passed and see what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what I’d like to change, the things I want to say no to, and the things I want to say yes to. I usually just write this in my beloved Powersheets or in my favorite journal. Now, I’m sharing it for my little corner of the internet world…which is kinda scary.

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Good…

  • Bruce…I want to do a longer post about Bruce and his family. My heart breaks when I think of his life ending. And, at the same time, I am overjoyed by the love he brought to me, and to all those who heard his story. Bruce has touched so many hearts and he has forever changed me. I think of him and his family constantly. Being a small part of his story, capturing the most raw and heart aching love I’ve ever witnessed, is the greatest honor I’ve had as a photographer. I learned so much about love from him and his entire family. His love was loud and big and it showed up. He didn’t hide it away. He gave it away freely.

  • Steff’s snuggles…seriously y’all I will put this on the list every year until he stops snuggling. He is still so snuggly and sweet…when he wants to be.

  • Bret and I dreaming together about what we want.

  • Bret and I working on our parenting. Sheesh…when y’all said having kids was hard, I didn’t realize it was the actual act of parenting that was the hardest. I wish I had read parenting books instead of pregnancy books. We have been studying all things peaceful parenting because…well, we need all the peace we can find. We are a super sensitive bunch. I’m more sensitive and Bret’s more firey and Steff is the perfect combination of both. Gosh…what an awesome combination when he’s older. Right now we are all setting each other off. But we are learning and working our way through it. The absolutely beautiful thing about having kids just so happens to be the absolutely brutal thing about having kids…they bring out all the things you didn’t know about yourself. If you let it, parenting can help you become who you were always meant to be. You can grow up together. The journey is certainly a bumpy one.

  • Starting 20 minutes a day of just Steff and I time with him leading.

  • Finding something to help the anxiety and depression.

  • Our annual TN trip with our closest friends.

  • Being more involved in church and making new friends.

  • Watching Steff learn and grow through Kindergarten and the start of first grade.

  • A summer of learning in the garden. Didn’t produce much, but I sure learned a lot.

  • Traveling to North Carolina for a day in the life session.

  • Having a clearer vision for Priscilla Baierlein Photography.

  • The business coming to life during the second half of the year and being filled with so much love.

  • Growing our little team…Emily & Bella :)

  • Creating some of my most favorite work to date with so many I love dearly.

  • Having miss Marissa Noe create videos for our family and business!


the not so good…

  • Losing sweet Bruce.

  • Half of the year I spent with pretty deep anxiety and depression. I hate typing that. But it’s just another part of my journey. There were days it took the drivers seat. Finding something to help was such a gift. The darkness can be scary and feel so lonely.

  • Social media not being used intentionally. More mindless scrolling than anything.

  • Unhealthy habits.

  • Not being the kind of parents we want to be. We all deserve more.

  • The first half of the year being the slowest the business has seen.

  • More time on editing and not enough time on growing.

  • Not enough time spent with our extended families.

And with that…I bring you some of my most favorite images of 2018. I’ll be blogging more from 2018, but this is a glimpse into each of the year’s sessions. I cannot wait to see what we create in 2019!

These next three images may not seem like anything spectacular, but they are of me and sweet Bruce. Being the photographer, I took pictures of what I could. Us sitting together watching Scooby Doo and him holding my hand while walking down the steps.

Also, see if you can spot Steff in a couple of the images below.

You made it all the way to the end! Thank you sweet friend! I cannot wait to see what we create together in 2019! Soon I will blog more about my goals and all the wonderful changes for this year, but, for now, I’m sending you all my love and hugs!

Much love,

Cilla

PS…Are you ready to book your 2019 session?

At Home and Keeneland with the C family | Priscilla Baierlein Photography {Lexington, KY lifestyle family photographer}

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She closed her eyes and breathed it all in. The way it felt to be snuggled in her mommas arms. It took my breath away. Her momma soaked in the snuggles and gave sweet little kisses upon her cheek. This is what love looks like. He was so grown from the first time I saw him as a newborn. He now had a room with hand drawn signs on the door. He loves making books…just like my sweet boy. He’s so big, but loves that he got to jump on the bed, loves being tickled, and, mostly, loves his momma and daddy’s snuggles. Jumping on the bed was a treat and they took full advantage. They jumped with so much pure joy. They made a family “sandwich” where they all piled on top and giggled until they couldn’t breathe. She would spin and spin and spin until she could barely stand. So free. Daddy snuck in sweet little kisses and played airplane with his baby girl while she sang “I believe I can fly!” They made daddy’s special popcorn and laughed with delight as the popcorn popped up out of the skillet and as the salt shaker twisted up and big rocks of salt fell into the bowl. They all devoured the popcorn…extra salt and all. Laura and Cory sat in their spots on the couch and held hands. She looked at him with all the love in her eyes I saw ten years ago. He smiled his great big smile and laughed a little at how it may be a little awkward with a camera in your face. The littles ran through the sprinklers, soaking in the last days of summer. I hope they always run through the sprinklers. {Side note: Grown ups, if you haven’t done this lately, just do it. You’ll thank me later!} A quick change and a quick drive lead us to Keeneland where they ran in the fields and snuggled and tickled and laughed in the golden light. She put her favorite little tutu on and silhouetted against the setting sun. It was perfect. More than I could’ve ever dreamed of when they emailed me for their first session ten years ago while I was still working another full time job. I could never foresee the beautiful sessions, the laughs, the long lunches that would happen over the years. Thankful. Always. Thankful.

p.s. I just sent out a newsletter yesterday with an update in my fall calendar. September, October and the very beginning of November are the best times to get images for the holidays. I have a few spots open in September and 8 in October. LET’S CHAT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY SESSION BY CLICKING HERE.

So much love,

Cilla

love for bruce | priscilla Baierlein photography {lexington, ky family photographer}

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love for Bruce | love and laughter through the darkness


It was a cold December morning. I had just gotten Steffen to school and sat down to open my email. I love email days that include a session request. It may seem silly, but I always do a little happy dance in my chair and another when I get a booking. :) Each one brings me so much joy. I opened the new session request from a lady named Robin and read such kind words about my work and about how she was drawn to it. Sometimes you know instantly this will be someone who you'll connect to. As I read further, my heart sank...

"We are searching for a very special photographer to capture the special moments we will cherish with our dear 5 year old son, Bruce. Last week, Bruce was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain stem tumor called DIPG that is resistant to chemotherapy, and tragically has a 100% mortality rate. Bruce’s life expectancy is less than 1 year. We are shocked and heartbroken at this sudden diagnosis. One way we have decided to cope is to invest in quality photography to document Bruce’s life. We have never used professional photography services, and I have realized that being behind the (iPhone) camera has resulted in my absence from most of our family’s photos. I would like to speak with you over the phone to discuss this further. I want as many pictures of Bruce as possible. Bruce has two brothers, jack (11), and Fred (1)."

Childhood cancer. My worst nightmare. Isn't it everyone's? You see, as I was reading her words, I imagined my little six year old boy. I imagined if it were him. I imagined if I were Robin. As a momma, I imagined her pain. I breathed in the brutal gift of life. I thought of my own niece, whom I had never met, that was taken by cancer. I imagined what these sessions may look like. I wondered if I would be able to do their journey justice. I, selfishly, worried I wouldn't be able to handle it emotionally. What I never imagined was exactly how moved I could be by one family the first time I stepped foot into their presence, even in their darkest days. What I never knew was how much love one family can give out into the world, even at their lowest. What I couldn't have known before meeting him was how much joy and laughter one little five year old could bring to everyone touched with his presence. That I would have the honor of photographing a Jedi, knight in shining armor, and superhero all rolled into one...who just so happens to give the best hugs in generous amounts. 

The first time I met Robin, Patch, and Bruce, was shortly after our email and phone call. After a routine follow up they discovered fluid had been building and making his symptoms worse, he would soon have his beautiful red curls cut and a shunt placed. I was met at the door with the warmest hug from Robin. With everything that was happening, they were able to bring joy to that little room. They snuggled and laughed with Bruce. With a camera in their faces, in a room they never imagined they'd be in, during so much grief and fear, they were able to love and be joyful right there in that moment.

Robin and Patch have a true gift of connection. They each have such wit and humor and this true gift of making you feel welcome, loved, safe, and seen. During something so unexpected, so tragic, they brought joy into that hospital room. Somehow, even in the middle of devastation, I am filled with joy when I am near them. They are fighting for Bruce...not just his life...but also his joy...his dreams...and a bit of normalcy. The same for Jack and Fred. They are making every day count and filling what they can with love and joy, while dealing with their own pain. I am certain, while in their home, I am surrounded by true warriors.

Since our first meeting Bruce has gone through surgery, radiation, and a clinical trial, he has gone to Disney, met big screen superheroes, met the Nutcracker, been knighted, had a sleepover at a castle, been a part of a team from Star Wars, became a police officer and a fire fighter, blasted his brother in a nerf war, caught his first fish, danced, played in his playhouse, jumped on his trampoline, and been loved by people all over the world . Shortly after our last session they found out that the clinical trial they had been flying to New York for hadn't yet changed the tumor, but, thankfully, it hadn't grown. On their facebook page (Love for Bruce), where they keep everyone updated and raise awareness of DIPG, Robin posted this after the scans...

"We would love for this scan to have shown that the tumor is gone completely - however that would have been unrealistic and atypical for the expected course of the disease. 
We do feel relieved that the cystic component of the tumor has not worsened, and we are grateful to have confirmation that Bruce’s VP shunt continues to function properly. 
There is unfortunately no correlation between imaging and the onset of progression. This MRI does not rule out that progression could occur at any moment. Progression is random and merciless, and we fear it every day".

That was posted on May 14th.

On June 2nd they posted this...

"On Monday morning Bruce woke up with noticeable worsening symptoms. Bruce’s oncologist conducted a neurological assessment and confirmed the decline. The symptoms came just as suddenly as when he was first diagnosed. Bruce has become less coordinated, and his speech has slowed dramatically. 
Yesterday, Bruce had an MRI. Although Bruce’s tumor was stable just a few weeks ago, it has begun to grow again. We are so thankful for the time we had with Bruce since his symptoms improved after radiation - but we wanted more time. Despite the fact that we anticipated that disease progression would likely occur if the clinical trial was not effective, the news is nonetheless shocking and we feel caught off guard. 
It is no longer safe for Bruce to take the clinical trial drug ONC201, and Bruce has been removed from the trial. Different tumors can respond differently to the same intervention, and we are hopeful that it will be effective for other children. 
With the help of Bruce’s oncologist, we will be considering other clinical trials and treatments. Because Bruce has already received the maximum safe dose of radiation within this timeframe; further radiation treatments could potentially be very harmful. 
Once DIPG tumors begin to progress, no treatments have been proven effective to stop or slow the growth. The tumor will likely continue to grow, and Bruce’s symptoms will progressively decline. 
There is no way to know precisely what the progressive stage of this cancer will hold for Bruce. The prognosis at this point is weeks to four months. The rapid onset of Bruce’s initial and progressive symptoms is worrisome that we may have even less time. Our highest priority is preserving Bruce’s comfort and quality of life."

There are simply no words. How could words be put to any of this? I know they will continue to do as they have done...make each day as full of love, laughter, and joy as they possibly can for their boys. Continue being the super heroes they are, even if they feel like the furthest thing from it. They will show up when they can and rest when they can. They will fight for each other. They will be surrounded with love through every step because when you open your heart as they have there are a lot of people who love you and see all your beauty. There is beauty in their love and in their fight. There is beauty in the laughter and joy that explodes from Bruce. There is beauty in Jack's lego building and Fred's admiration of his brothers, in cartoon snuggles and family breakfast making, jumps on the trampoline, and slips down the slide, in swinging, and in the tears. There is some kind of twisted beauty in the pain that surely consumes them. Perhaps that beauty...that love...is what will move them forward and take them through each day. On the days that all the beauty seems faded and all the laughs are quiet, they will somehow show up the best they can  (sometimes that my be in the form of rest and tears and others it may be in the form of cuddles and others in laughter) for their boys and each other...because...that's just what superhero warriors do.

Hug your babies tight, my friends. Hug them so tight. Robin, Patch, Jack, Bruce, and Fred...I love you and am so thankful to have you in my life. Also, if you want to know how funny they are and how welcome they make you feel, this is a legit question I texted Robin, "Should I call Patrick in the blog post Patch, Pat, Patrick, sugar daddy, or....?" Well, I'll save the last one.

So much love,

Cilla

New Baby | Priscilla Baierlein Photography {Lexington, KY Newborn Photographer}

I could've folded her up, stuck her in my pocket and taken her home with me. Everything about this session was perfect and flowed so naturally. Okay...minus the very dark clouds outside. I had another one of those "aaww" moments when I just wanted to stop and soak in the moment with them. The love  in their home is so strong.  How can it not be when you have a perfect little angel like Miss M and such loving parents!?! I am so sad that they are moving...excited for them though. I did mention that they were welcome to fly me to their soon to be new home, but I don't think they were going for it. I mean...I don't know why. lol. Thanks to the Y family for opening your home to me. xoxo