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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Arianna at 3.5 years old

And what post would be complete without some Arianna pictures!

To say I'm proud of her would be an understatement, she's amazing to me :)

Friday, September 04, 2009

I'm published!

She had a hard time growing

When Jennifer DeCesari learned that she was about to deliver her baby at 28 weeks, her first reaction was to say, “I’m a preemie, too. Everything will be OK.”

But now, DeCesari sees in her daughter’s struggles reminders of her own painful childhood. And she has found that everything is not OK.

DeCesari was born in Boston in 1978 at 30 weeks’ gestation, weighing just over 3 pounds. She was socially immature, physically weak and uncoordinated until high school — a scared, awkward little girl who got so lonely at lunchtime that she’d talk with her mother on a pay phone.

“I see similar things in my daughter,” DeCesari says now. Arianna was born in March 2006 weighing just under 3 pounds. Despite a comparatively easy time in the neonatal intensive care unit — the baby needed a ventilator for only 18 hours –– Arianna has had a hard time growing since she came home. She got sick immediately, required two hospitalizations and fell prey to every bug that wafted by.

DeCesari could not leave her job as a computer programmer because she held the health benefits for the family. To keep Arianna away from the germs in day care, she spent her salary on a nanny. Eventually her husband, Shawn, got a job with benefits and DeCesari left hers.

Meanwhile the little girl developed severe reflux and to this day has difficulty eating. At age 3, Arianna is physically fragile and very tiny: at her June checkup she measured 33 inches tall, and weighed 26½ pounds. She didn’t walk until she was 1½ and today still has to crawl to get up the stairs. She has asthma and catches colds easily. She has a stutter.

“She gets sick a lot,” DeCesari says. “Every single time she gets a cold she doesn’t eat for a week. They’ll weigh her, they’ll look at me, ‘She’s lost more weight.’ … Frequently she’s off the [growth] chart, not even on the chart. No matter what I pump into her she doesn’t gain any weight.”

Now DeCesari, who lives in Cumberland, is wrangling with the school system to get services for Arianna, facing long waiting lists for programs such as speech therapy. But Arianna is bright, already able to read.

Looking ahead to Arianna’s school days, DeCesari says, “She’ll be emotionally behind all the children her age, making her a target for teasing, and will have some attention and focusing problems. … I don’t see her childhood being an easy one.”

But DeCesari remembers that once she got to high school, her own social problems improved. She did well academically and attended college. She thinks prematurity hasn’t affected her adult life, except for some vision problems. And she hopes Arianna will be as fortunate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


So... what's new with me?

AHH!!! I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off!

My photography business is growing and thriving and I'm INSANELY busy! I do alot of my marketing on facebook so you can find me there most days and here almost never as I don't have much time.

My photography business site is a blog and you'll see me there nearly every day too. So if you want to check up on me or my girls, find me there!

One year

I can't believe she is one year...

Friday, June 12, 2009


...I'll look back on this shot and want to get this time period back. I'm so glad I have a picture!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I can appreciate

There are days when I am more appreciative of how hard some things are for Arianna. Of course she doesn't know its hard, it's all she's known, but one day she'll realize it.

Arianna got a bad stomach bug Sunday. At 3 PM she was running a fever of 103. I was running out the door to photo session so I gave the tylenol to Dad and told him to watch her. I got home and things were ok, fever broke. 11 PM she was in bed and violently vomitted around her room. Fever back up to 103.6 and she is sweating and shaking. I put her in the bath, send Dad to the store to get ibuprophen, lay Arianna on our bed to watch Family Guy (ya, well, it was the only cartoon on at that time of night) and we clean up her room.

It's a typical childhood illness - she'll survive. But not before losing a pound or two and essentially stopping eating for a week.

Daria is not sick. As a matter of fact Daria hasn't been sick since she was 3 weeks old. She may get a runny nose but we haven't had to suction her nose, give her breathing treatments, pump her full of calories or worry. We haven't had to stress with Daria!

I'm crying just writing this. Arianna has had it so hard. We have had it so hard with her. I'm not kidding when I say that there isn't a meal that goes by that doesn't either have major cajoling by us or ends in tears. It's ridiculously stressful! Daria, on the other hand, eats ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we put in front her - no matter the amount. It's incredible! I don't know what to do with a child that is as happy as her. I don't know what to do with a child that simply EATS and easts well! She's so happy and EASY...

Life hasn't been fair to Arianna. I know it could certainly be worse but it could also be better... alot better.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Goodbye dear friend

1995 - May 27, 2009

Last week we had to say goodbye to our dear furry friend TiSan. We've had TiSan for 8 years and, at 14, he was old. He took a stroke Wednesday morning but it was really the last thing to go in a long list of 'problems'. He had high blood pressure, horrible food allergies and was losing weight at an alarming rate. He was so frail when we held him for the last time.

He was such a wonderful companion for us. As soon as we moved out of our 'teeny tiny' apartment in Plainville to Providence we adopted him. He came from a 'cat collector' in Maryland. She had over 300 cats when he was rescued. He, almost immediately, took to my husband but it took him YEARS (at least 4) to learn to trust me. I loved him so much.

Our relationship with TiSan changed when the kids arrived. It became really apparant when Daria arrived. I felt bad for him when Daria would crawl over and pull him down - but he was such a WONDERFUL cat that he would just take it. He wouldn't hiss or bite, just take it and then slowly walk away. What a great cat for kids!

I'm going to miss him. Our house is so very empty without ANY cats. This is a first in 8 years and I think we'll remain that way for a while - we need some time without cats and all the 'stuff' that comes with them. TiSan was sick for a while and then Misty before him have left us with alot to 'clean up' and our finances need some cushion. It's amazing how much you can spend on a cat in only a few weeks... he was worth it though. I didn't want him to suffer needlessly.

We had him creamated and, as of today, he sits in our bedroom as an eternal reminder of the great friend we lost. Our memories are strong. He's quite the cat to measure up to... I don't think we'll ever have one like him.

Back from 'the dead'

I know, I know... where have I been?

I've been busy with life. I had to reorganize my priorities the last few weeks because EVERYTHING was out of control - I'm not kidding. I dropped the majority of those stupid MOMS groups and joined again. The house is clean, the kids are happy and, more importantly, I'm happy.

My photography business is booming right now - 8 sessions this month! Wow!

The kids are doing well. Daria is such a joy. She's so easy and happy. I'm so hopelessly in love with that girl. She went on a nursing strike over the weekend due to teething and I cried so hard on Sunday. I was so sad that she may be 'over' me. Thankfully she changed her mind Monday morning. It really made me realize what a special relationship we have.

Feeding Daria is so easy. ANYTHING we put in front of her, she eats! It's amazing. She eats anything and everything. I was very casual with the whole 'introducing foods' thing and now she's on all table foods. Arianna was so total different its not even funny. This morning I gave Daria some strawberries and cheerios for breakfast and hubby commented "We could NEVER give Arianna cheerios at this age", and he's right. Arianna gagged on EVERYTHING and was very fussy when feeding. Daria we don't even have to feed - she does it herself. She is her happiest when in the highchair eating. There will be no force feedings, no 'mesermizing with the TV' and most importantly - no tears from either of us. The difference between these two, as far as eating is concerned, is astounding. I marvel at it. I told hubby the other day "So this is what feeding a baby is supposed to be, fun?". Arianna wasn't fun, still isn't fun. Daria eats more than Arianna most days. There is seldom a meal that doesn't end with me yelling at Arianna to eat - seriously. I think she'd go all day without eating - but she'll drink milk all day long, still. I get sad just typing that.

Arianna is reading now - last week we were in a restaurant with a friend and Arianna took my menu from me and pointed at an item and said "Mommy, I want the fish", and sure enough, she was pointing to a fish meal. I think I jumped up and screamed "OH MY GOD!!! YOU CAN READ!!" I was so excited. She's so amazing to me.

3 years old is hard. She's so sassy and at times so unbelievably disrespectful that it makes me want to go crazy and smack the smirk right off her face. But I have to keep in mind that 'this too will pass'. I had to give up on the whole 'let her dress herself' thing too - she's just so reliant on me doing everything for her that even the act of taking off her shirt is cause for breakdown. Last week she broke yet another pair of glasses - she's getting new ones on Thursday but I swear I'm going to order the rubber ones cause when she's being a snotty little brat and throws them on the ground they can just bounce right back up and hit her in the nose.

She better win an Oscar when she gets older! She's an unbelievable drama queen - I really have NEVER met a kid that can be so over the top about things. Sensory situations are the worst. Stepping on something gooey or squishy will immediately lead to falling on the ground screaming. Brushing her hair is an epic event every day. I've actually gotten to the point where I put TONS of crap in her hair to keep it so silky smoothy that one of those head lice combs could get through her thick hair with ease. I should just shave her head.

So ya, things here are good - just INSANELY busy and that's a good thing. So much has changed in the 9 months Daria has been here, good and bad. I've learned alot about myself and that I have so much to work on!

I won't promise to be back blogging more cause I hate to break a promise... but I hope to catch an inspiration breeze soon :)

Here's a picture I took to commemorate Daria's 9 month birthday :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm a little biased

But I swear she's the cutest 'baby in a pink hat sitting in a swing'. I'm hopelessly addicted to this cute kid!

Monday, March 30, 2009

My girls

Today was another preemie dig at my heart & soul.

Arianna had her 3 year pediatrician appointment.

She's 36" tall, finally. But lost weight, again. She's 26 lbs. 1 oz. She has a cold, no surprise, but I think we've come to the conclusion she has asthma and will need to be on medicine now. Although this is totally no surprise to me I'm bummed. Being a preemie has hit her hard for being a nearly 29 weeker. Heck, I was only 2 oz. bigger than her when I was born at 30 weeks and I haven't dealt with what she's dealt with. It makes me sad and feel guilty at the same time.

On the bright side though we're working hard on our phonics and math and she's doing great. She can read a few words and what she can't read she can at least sound out phonetically and sometimes figures them out. She's really amazing me with the attention level she has for this.

Gross motor wise, well... she's really far behind. I see it more and more. She goes to gymnastics and can't do anything the 2 year olds can do. Her gait is really immature for a 3 year old, she can't/won't jump, can't/won't 'do' stairs and is very clumsy - to the point that I think she's a danger to herself. But, as her pediatrician pointed out, it's not delaying her advancement so we'll just let it 'get better'. Well how can it get better without help? I'm really concerned about it and don't feel I'm getting much help.

She still stutters, especially when asking a question, but apparently they don't do anything about it until age 5 and even then its done through the school system which is backlogged, under staffed and unorganized.

Daria is 7 months now and weighing in at a very hefty 19 lbs. She's in the 90th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height - she's just a moose! She sits up on her own fully now, gets up on her hands and knees for crawling (but thank god doesn't do it yet), is experimenting with solid food and today she said 'mama'. She has the most infectious laugh and is totally a dream baby - sleeps well and hardly ever fusses. She nurses avidly and makes me so very happy - she's my sanity saver when Arianna is 'in a mood'.

What post would be complete without pictures of my babies? I took these last week at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Gardens.

Monday, March 16, 2009

They like me, they really really like me

I was interviewed for an article on pregnancy after having a preemie. The article is here.

Unlike Glad, Jennifer D of Cumberland, R.I., knew when she was pregnant with her first child that she was at increased risk of giving birth prematurely. Due to a bout with cervical cancer at age 18, she had already been diagnosed with an incompetent cervix. In addition, she'd been a preemie herself – born in 1978 at 30 weeks. In spite of all those warning signs, she says her doctor didn't take any special precautions, and her daughter, Arianna, now 3, still has issues related to her birth at 28 weeks.

When Jennifer got pregnant with her second child she went back to the same doctor armed with more than a year's worth of research. She wanted to discuss having a procedure called a cerclage, often used in cases of incompetent cervix, where the cervix is stitched closed. She also wanted to discuss other options for preventing prematurity, such as progesterone shots and more frequent ultrasounds. Her doctor, however, still did not take her increased risk seriously.

"I felt like I'd hit a brick wall when I went back to my original practice," Jennifer says. "When I told them what I wanted to do to try to prevent another premature birth, they didn't want to commit to anything. They said they couldn't say what they'd be able to do differently than the first time. I told them I was sorry, but I'd have to find a new doctor."

The new practice worked closely with Jennifer. She had a cerclage at 13 weeks, supplemented that with progesterone, and was scheduled for weekly appointments and ultrasounds. Her second daughter, Daria, was born healthy and full-term.

I feel so spe-shell

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Photographers are funny

I did a workshop today that was lots of fun. Our model was the flaming red head you see below, yes, the female one...

Photographers are funny people :P

Friday, March 13, 2009

Year Three

Today my preemie pumpkin turns 3. She amazes me every day - earlier this week she demonstrated to me that she can read the words 'cat', 'hat' and 'bus'. She also deomonstrated what a sassy attitude year 3 carries with it. I'll miss 2 but I'm excited to see what 3 has to offer.

I love you my red headed baby big girl :)

At the end of year 1 and now:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I think I may have a little model on my hands...

Daria was a baby model for a photography workshop I did today. She's so yummy :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hyper Speed

My life is moving at hyper speed right now - I've had 9 photography clients this month and 2 workshops - I'm BEYOND swamped so I haven't had any updates. Life (and blogging) will return to its regularly scheduled programming soon.

Daria turned 6 months... where did the time go? Seriously, I miss my little baby... now she's my big baby. Last night at dinner I think she ate more than her sister did, no surprise there. LOL

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009

American values...

I was at the mall a few days ago when this picture caught my eye on an advertisement display. It's back?! Seriously?! It's back for another season?

What's happened to America? I get so sick to my soul when I see this type of stuff advertised as heavily as it is! What happened to the values of yester-year when teenage pregnancy is glamorized like this?!

Is this really what the American teenager is supposed to be like? Is this the image our children are to aspire to? What happened to varsity football, prom queen and national honor society? Pregnant teenager? Seriously?

I know someone is going to say "it's not showing it in a poistive light..." It doesn't matter! You know the saying "There is no such thing as bad publicity" - it holds as much truth here as anywhere.

How can we expect to instill the values that worked so well in the past and that we want to preserve when this is the type of stuff we have working against us?

And shame on you ABC - shame on you for putting this on your so called "FAMILY" channel. What a joke - do you seriously think your promoting family values with this junk?!

Just last week on my radio station an ad for a 'male enhancement' product came on the air. It started out with this exact line "Last night was the best sex of my life. I performed like a stallion and my girl loved me for it!".

I nearly drove off the road! I have my 2 daughters in the back seat - is nothing sacred? I know advertising revenue is down but COME ON! I don't want to hear ads like that and I certainly don't want impressionable young ears hearing that stuff either.

Some days it makes me wonder if we should try at all - there's just too much working against us.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Get it, don't or quit

This was my husbands boss' statement to her staff concerning the 45% increase in benefits cost for the coming year. It's all employee paid with no contribution from the company.

It was followed up with... "solve your problem, simply spend less".

Ya... this coming from someone married to a doctor and 'childfree'.

If this economy wasn't so sucky he'd be working somewhere else me thinks...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You know what they say...

... moms spend so much time taking care of their kids they rarely take care of themselves.

I've been extremely neglectful of myself since early last summer really. I've been dieting since I knew what the word meant - always having more than a few pounds to lose. I was heaviest on my wedding day - tipping the scales at 222 lbs. Thank goodness I haven't seen 200+ in more than 6 years now. But I need to get the baby weight off now! I did all I was supposed to for 2 weeks and the scale didn't budge. I hate that! Unfortunately the only diet I've ever done well on was the Optifast diet which is an all liquid, doctor supervised, very expensive diet. Seeing as I'm a stay at home mom now I can't afford to do Optifast again, but would love to.

But I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I want. I know how to diet and I know how to lose weight and what to eat. I'm not pregnant anymore so why can't I eat what I'm supposed to eat to lose weight? I don't have junk food in my house and I'm breastfeeding so the weight should be falling off - but I know my portion sizes are way off and I'm sure there are lots of hidden calories in what I'm eating/drinking (like the hot cocoa I just had). But I'm not exercising - unless wrangling the kids counts.

When pregnant with Daria I had insulin dependent gestational diabetes. My dad has type II diabetes. I never went back to have my post-pregnancy blood tests. I haven't used my glucometer since Daria was born - I'm almost scared to. I'm not losing weight and I'm not abnormally thirsty (all of which are common signs of type II - both of which were my dad's biggest symptoms) so I know I don't have it but I'm at a huge risk for it. I need to get my butt in gear!

Don't get me started on seeing my cardiologist. I'm so incredibly stupid when it comes to my Long QT Syndrome/defibrillator. I haven't seen mine since July (he left the practice and went to another) and my defibrillator is on recall status. I made an appointment for 2/6 and feel like a fool for not seeing him sooner. I'm actually in the most vulnerable period for LQTS (post partum) so I should know better!

Like I was after Arianna was born, I'm sure I'll get fed up soon - only this time I'll have to do all the hard work myself. No special diet to save my butt this time...

5 months

Her beautiful chubby cheeks always make me smile - she's so amazing. At some point during her 4th month her demeanor started to change and I started to like her (*grin*) She was not as whiney anymore and definitely more interactive. I love this phase!

She weighed in at 16 lbs. even at her 4 month appointment... for reference Arianna weighed 17 lbs. at one YEAR.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sweet Baby James

Early Thursday morning my cousin Kim's sweet baby boy James passed away - he was 2 weeks old.

Please keep them in your prayers - everyone is devastated.

For anyone that has gone through this please let me know if there is some 'gift' I can get them to acknowledge that he lived and was loved by his family. I'm really at a loss.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Picture Post

"Mom, I said stop taking my picture!"

Enjoying an 'adult' conversation after dinner - when did she get so big?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Prayers please...

Saturday night my cousin Kim gave birth to boy/girl twins at 27 weeks.

Her little girl was 2 lbs. even and the little boy was 2 lbs. 2 oz.

They're scared beyond words and I'm waiting to hear more about how everyone is doing.

Many of you who read here know what she is going through and prayers are definitely appreciated.

Thank you.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I need your help...

As I've mentioned before I'm starting a photography business this year. I want to enroll in an online business course geared toward photographers but seeing as I don't bring in an income anymore I don't have the money.

As luck would have it she is running a contest this month and asked us to submit a picture explaining why we deserve a spot in her contest. Can you help by voting for my picture?

My picture is #1, scroll to the bottom and vote for #1 please, pretty pretty please - with a cherry on top! :)