My Family!!

My Family!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vote for Avaleen!!!!

So I am going to exploit my child for a minute! lol....please go over and vote for Avaleen for cutest baby contest!! :-) She could win prizes and the chance to be on the cover of Parent Magazine. Here is the link:

I know we are behind, so we have some catching up to do in the next 4 days!! VOTE VOTE VOTE:-) lol. Thanks!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avaleen 6 Months!

So before I post about Rosie's Second Birthday, i thought I should probably post about my beautiful rainbow! She brings light and joy to every day, and her smiling face made the 20th so much easier. I mean come on...who couldn't smile and laugh at this little face?!?!?!

 She turned 6 months on the 13th and had her doctor's appt on the 19th. This little munchkin is a whopping 18lbs4oz of pure beef-cake...or as Foster says "Veal cake". She is measuring 27.75 inches long...and her head is in the 90th percentile...not that that surprised Her head is big, and she is tall...but pretty lean considering her weight! We call her "Long and Lean Avabean" :-)

Right now she is sitting for long periods of time with no assistance (but always someone close by). She will stay up on her feet if holding onto something or someone is holding her. She is rolling to get to where she wants....over and over and over till she reaches whatever destination she is trying to get to.

Ava's personality is really starting to shine through. She is too smart for her own good! She "speaks up" is she is not happy about something, and HATES when she is left alone in a room.

Right now we are still struggling with sleep. She does NOT want to go to sleep at night. She fights Foster and I tooth and nail. However, when she DOES go to sleep she is sleeping 9+ hours.

We started baby food. I have canned, but like to make my own for her. It is one way I can help make sure her food is nutritious, since I haven't been able to breast feed since 6 weeks. She also tried a sippy cup for the first time and LOVED it!

Unfortunately, she has gotten to the point where she can't attend photo shoots with me. I used to be able to do a full 1.5 hour session with her hanging out in her stroller, or in the baby bjorn on my chest, but she is just getting too big, and napping a LOT 2-3 20-45 minute naps a day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

2 Years, and a Heavy Heart

I woke up yesterday with a heavy heart. 2 years ago, I woke up in my bed with an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. I didn't feel "quite right". I called my aunt and my husband, both suggested I went into urgent care. I declined, saying I had NO idea what my primary complaint would be. I worked in an ER, and if a woman came in and told me she had no idea what was wrong, I wouldn't know how to react. We would have still seen the patient, but how do you go about diagnosing the patient who has no specific complaints?!?

I had felt Rosalynn move a few times, so I wasn't worried about her. I went to lay down at about noon that day, and although I still can't tell you why, I called off work. I don't know if deep down I knew the night would take a terrible turn, maybe I was afraid of sleeping too late and then not calling off in time, I may never know what made me call off work, but I thank God I did, because I would have HATED to find out w/o Dave around that Rosie had passed.

Around 9pm I headed to Mr. and Mrs. Prince's to borrow their doppler to check for Rosie's heart beat.....nothing. We started praying that the reason was because she was breached, but when we got to the hospital, our worst fears were confirmed!

Last night I spent the evening with Ava, Cole, JJ and Mr. JJ. Foster was out of town for work. Around 7:30 PM we were walking back from dinner when a family with a two beautiful girls started walking by. The oldest girl was 18-19 months old and had the most beautiful head of red hair. She was looking at Ava and wanted to touch her and the mom said, "Be gentle Rosie, don't hurt the baby."

I immediately looked at JJ and Mr. JJ. I had chills work their way up my arms. I have yet to meet another little girl names Rosie, and for it to happen yesterday, made me feel it was OUR Rosie's way of letting us know she is still with us.

Today Foster, Ava, myself, and a few family members will be gathering to eat dinner and let off Japanese lanterns at the cemetery.

Although this year was a little easier leading up to her birthday, partially because of Miss Avaleen, but it didn't help make the actual day any easier. I miss her. I miss her every moment of every day....but these days are always the hardest.

I love you Rosalynn. Thank you for teaching me what love truly is.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Fun Begins..Adventures in Baby Food!

We officially started on the journey of baby food about a month ago. Slowly we started introducing new flavors to Ava, and seeing how her digestive system handled the new food.

I knew from day one that I want to make my own baby food for her. However, before I got a really good blender, I had to buy a few jars. Figured, if she was like me when I was her age (I HATED baby food, and went straight to big-people food) w would not waste money on an expensive baby blender. She seemed to LOVE the baby food, so I was on the lookout for a good deal.

One morning I woke up and opened my email. There was a $150 blender on groupon for $49!! I couldn't pass it up! It has the steamer/bottle warmer/reheating plate on one side, and the blender on the other.

After a hectic week of taking photos for a wedding, set of 1 yr old twins, and my marketing gig, I FINALLY cracked open the box, and started to use my new product. I did some research on easy/good recipes for baby food for 6 month old. This is the one I found that she LOVED:

1 ripe banana and 1 avocado add water or formula or breast milk till right consistency

How easy right? I didn't even have to steam it first. Ava LOVED it!! She ate a TON of it! It even made enough for about 4 more feedings. I didn't have anything to store it in other than old breast milk bags, so I need to go out and get some ice cube trays so I can freeze the extras, and keep a variety of food so I can just thaw, reheat in my kidsline steamer side, and serve it to Miss Ava.

I am excited. I know my milk depleted after 6 weeks, and so I felt like I couldn't provide her the healthiest food. Now, with this baby food maker, I can feel like I am back in control. I can choose the foods and ingredients that go into her mouth, and make sure they are the healthiest, organic ingredients I can get!

Next up: Peas and Carrots!

Have you tried making your own baby food? How was your experience? What is your child's favorite recipe?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Marketing for a New Business

Well, I figured since I promised I would write more, and this has to do with what has been taking so much of my time up lately, I would post a little about my photography business. My small photography business has been getting more and more busy. I have been getting more and more clients, and am soooo excited! I have truly been blessed with this opportunity.

I decided if I wanted to get even more business, I needed to find some marketing opportunities. After picking my cousin's brain (she was a photographer for 10 years and does marketing for a living) and also listening to my mentor, I finally made a few connections, and jumped in.

This past weekend I had my first big marketing gig. I was nervous, excited, and hoping for the best. I was nervous because what if no one liked my stuff? I was excited at the prospect of having complete strangers take interest in my work. However,  I was a little disappointed, because I had ordered a few products that had yet to be delivered, but the table was pretty full regardless.

This particular event was a local consignment sale. Our consignment sales are HUGE! They draw new moms and experienced moms alike. Sometimes the lines will start out the door an hour before the sale actually starts. Since my main focus is newborns and children, this could potentially be a very lucrative endeavor.

These women are out to find a deal, so I figured I would offer a 15% discount for those that signed up for my drawing and did not win. The drawing was for a free photo session.

I had over 40 people sign up, and before the end of the event, I already had 3 sessions scheduled, with 2 more possibilities! I am so excited! The event has already paid for the cost to place my table. I have another consignment sale coming up next month. I am excited to see if it is as successful as this last one.

My one piece of advice, because I am by no means a marketing expert, is to have an attractive table that will draw attention and showcase your best work, and a variety of what you can offer. I had newborns, maternity, family and children photos. I left the senior, wedding, and couples shoots because that wasn't my target audience. I had large canvases, framed photos (and the frames were custom from my framer) and smaller prints under Plexiglas I placed on top of the table top. Then I had a portfolio of some of my favorite 8x10s and one of the albums I designed for one of my regular families.

Here are some pictures of my table....for my first time, I was pretty proud of it:-) Sorry for the bad pictures, they were take with my point and shoot.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Finding the Time

I have come to the conclusion that I am just going to have to bite the bullet, and FIND time to sit down and write. Sure, my photography is giving me a GREAT outlet to express my creativity, but there is still this unsatisfied ache inside of me that is only going to be satisfied by writing.

There is something new and exciting that happens every day with Ava, but sometimes I feel like I would just be boring you if I talked about them. However, then I realize I started this blog for myself, not for everyone else, and the fact that I have 150+ followers is just a bonus. So, the good, the bad, and the ugly will start popping up on this blog more often, and Ava's nap times will officially be "blog writing time".

There is SOOO much that I have left out over the past 6 months. Heck! I have only written about 10 entries since Ava entered our lives. She is rolling from back to front, and front to back. She is TRYING to sit up on her own....she can balance for a few seconds, but ultimately ends up on one side or another. She is a chatter box, and her personality is shining through.

Lately, I have started to wonder if 6 months is not too young to start manipulating her parents. Lately, when it is bed time, she has been throwing fits. Prior to a week ago, she would go down to sleep with only a few kisses, stories, and a family prayer. She would smile a squeal through the bed time stories, and then as soon as we would turn off the lights after good night kisses, she would watch her aquarium until she would drift off on her own. About a week or two ago, she has started screaming as soon as the "fun" part is done. As soon as the lights go off, the most blood cuddling screams you have heard come out of this sweet baby girl. It KILLS me. I give it about 3-5 mins before I go to soothe her. AS SOON as I pick her up, the tantrum stops, and smiles appear on her face. I know my daughter is ornery, but to be manipulative at this young of an age. I HOPE not, but the "I am getting what I want" grin that materializes the SECOND I pick her up has created doubts in my mind.

Foster has suggested allowing her to cry it out. I know at a newborn age, "crying it out" interferes with the trust/mistrust stage in their life, but if she truly is doing this to get me to pick her up, maybe I will have to try his way. Maybe if I sit by her crib and just pat her butt or rub her head so she knows I am present, but avoid picking her up, this will help the situation.

Now please, don't get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than to rock my daughter to sleep. It is the most peaceful, wonderful feeling to have my child nuzzled on my chest as I sway back and forth and she drifts off into dreamland to the soft humming of my voice. However, I have always done this for nap time, not bed time. I don't know what changed in the past 2 weeks.

I will keep you all updated on the bed time fiascoes.

As for the modeling contracts. She was approved by BOTH agencies. The NJ agency wants her info on file for direct bookings. Anything that would require a go-see would not be financially worth it to us as a family, because it doesn't even cover the cost of travel. The OH agency is ALL about her. Unfortunately, they don't get a lot of bookings for children under the age of 4...maybe 10-15 a year, but they definitely want to represent her if anything comes up. Being a local agency, we would have no issues with attending go-sees and such. I am not too disappointed in lack of opportunities, because I am so busy getting the photography business up and running, that I am afraid I wouldn't be able to give THAT much time to this endeavor.

Here are a few shots of my beautiful girl taken within the past month. She is approaching 6 months on the 13th! Boy how time flies!!!

Where did she go!?!?

LOVE this little munchkin!!

finding her feet

Meeting her new best friend COLE!!

play date w/ all the OSUE kids:-)

ready for church

Just in case you had ANY doubt in your mind that my child is ornery:

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Problem Miracle"

Yesterday I was honored with the opportunity to have a double dose of church. I attended the early mass with Foster for Palm Sunday, and then headed to the local C3 church to attend the dedication of one of my dear friend's son.

I always like to attend other church services, because although I was born and raised Catholic, I always get a lot out of any type of service where people are gathered in God's name. I also LOVE the more modern music that is played during the worship portion of most Protestant services.

As the dedication began, I whipped out my camera, because I was also there to capture this important moment in this family's life. I started to get really emotional. Watching the pride, joy and appreciation in the parents' eyes made my heart swell. Also, Mom started to tear up. I know this little man's delivery was traumatic...and they could have lost him. He also endured a short stint in the NICU like Ava. This family was sooooo happy and felt sooo blessed that he was alive, healthy, and being ABLE to be dedicated back to God.

Then it became personal.....

I heard the words and immediately started to tear up "Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."' (Matthew 19:14) The words, engraved on Rosie's grave were spoken aloud.

Then the next scripture passage was read:  "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (1Samuel 1:27-28). This passage I studied, prayed over, meditated over, and eventually got to utter the day Ava was born....a passage I had been hoping for a LONG time that I could speak aloud for a living child.

Naturally, I was in tears...EVERY child is a true miracle, and unfortunately, not everyone sees that now a days.

As if that wasn't enough signs that Rosalynn is around as her birthday is approaching this month, the lesson for the service began. It was entitled "Problem Miracle." Basically the pastor was discussing how our problems, no matter how big or small, can seem like a burden and hard to cope with, but they are the opportunity for God to create miracles.

Right now, I feel like I have no problems...only miracles happening all around me...however, these miracles would NOT be here if not for Rosalynn. SHE helped create these miracles. 2 years ago, her passing would be the "problem" that would create the opportunity to allow for many future miracles in my life.

This is where the pastor hit home! The pastor said, "There are people you will meet in your life that will say 'If such and such had not happened to me, I would not be the person I am today. That was the turning point in my life.'"

As much as I would like to believe that I would be a photographer, a stay at home mom to TWO girls, and a devoted Christian without Rosalynn's reality, I can't say that these would be true. 2 years ago this month, on the 20th, was the turning point in my life. I would NOT be the person I am today if it had not been for the passing of my daughter.

The last thing the pastor said that really resonated with me, is that God allows the miracles to be possible through the help of others. I COMPLETELY agree with this. All of my little miracles (they are HUGE in my life, but in comparison to some of the miracles in this world, they are small), could NOT have been possible without the help of my friends, coworkers and family. Each and every one of you helped me in my darkest moments, were there if I needed a good cry, and then were there when I needed people to practice my portraiture on. Without Rosie AND you, I would not be where I am today. I know I don't say it enough, because even if I said it every day I wouldn't be saying it enough, but THANK YOU!!

Thank you all for being there to help create my "Problem Miracles".

Can you think of any "Problem Miracles" God has preformed in your life?


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