My Family!!

My Family!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


It wasn't hard to lose the pregnancy weight I gained with Ava, since I only gained 14-16 lbs. In fact, I was back to pre-pregnancy weight by my PP appointment. HOWEVER, I still have quite a way to go before getting back to pre-Rosie weight.

I was so consumed with wanting to get pregnant after losing Rosalynn, that I didn't really focus on getting myself healthy again. Then add to the fact that I had developed post-partum hypothyroidism, I still have about 30+ lbs to lose from carrying Rosie.

This past week I received a mailer for Jazzercise! I know JJ used to attend and had nothing but positive things to say about this program. The mailer boasted a free nutritionist and discounted fees for those who wanted to join and be a testimonial over a 12 week period. I added up the expense between jazzercise and weight watchers, and found out it would be MORE expensive for me to join back up with WW, and they don't have a work out regimen.

Yesterday was my first class. I was terrified. For one, I have never witnessed what a jazzersize class consists of. I also wasn't sure how the women would be. If you are a woman, you can relate that when you get involved with a new group, sometimes women can be catty and standoffish to newbies.

I had NOTHING to worry about....well, almost nothing to worry about. The group was filled with women of all ages and sizes. They were all sooooo accepting of me and Ava. The plus to this organization is they offer childcare for certain class times!

Then the fun began! The music started and what I thought would be a typical group workout was FAR from it! It was like a dance party! For one whole hour we worked out our abs, arms, butts, and every other part of our bodies while having fun and laughing. The hour FLEW by. Now, the one thing I have to admit, is that I am one of the clumsiest people alive, so it was quite entertaining to try and figure out all the moves, but I was reassured that it would start to come easier as I attended more.

I am a little sore, but truth be told, I figured I would feel worse this morning! I am pretty proud of myself. Although I had to take a few water breaks, and didn't go as far down in my lunges or as high in weight as some of the others, i made it through the WHOLE hour! I can't wait to go back tomorrow morning.

So, although I love my daughter Rosalynn, and cherish everything I have that reminds me of her, her baby fat is one thing I can part with. Here is to being a healthier me in 12 weeks:-) Here is to Pre-Rosie weight!

me on the left...2 weeks before getting pregnant w/ Rosalynn

Thursday, January 19, 2012

3 Months! WOW!

I cannot believe 3 months have gone by already! Every moment with Ava has been amazing!! Yes, EVERY MOMENT. She is such a sweetie, and even when she cries it is this sweet, almost pathetic cry that makes me and Foster smile. She was giving us 6-7 hours of sleep a night for the past 3-4 weeks, but all of the sudden started waking up every 4 hours again to feed. I am sure this is just a growth spurt. I realized that I actually missed the late night feedings. Walking into that precious, smiling face as I peak over the crib after she has been crying is sooo fulfilling. She eats and then goes right back to sleep.

She is smiling and even squealing. She hasn't QUITE started laughing, but the squeal is sooo darn cute. It still hasn't hit me that I am a SAHM, but that might be because I am so busy. Each day we have errands, play dates, photo shoots, etc. She is my little side kick. She sits quietly while I have my photo shoots, and sleeps through  most errands we run. She LOVES playing on her play mat and has figured out how to kick the toys with her feet.

Foster has really hit his stride with Ava. I was a little nervous at the beginning, because he seemed timid, and almost afraid and annoyed. Now they are little buddies, and she gets so excited when he gets home at night. He is such an amazing dad! I am so blessed!

I joined a SAHM club. I am really excited, because I wanted a way to socialize Ava without having to send her to a daycare. They get together a few times a week and do TONS of stuff like play dates, science centers, libraries, and even Mom's night out. I look forward to making new friends in the area and assisting in Ava's social development.

Here are a few recent photos of the little peanut. Of course, after the photo shoot I had today with twins, she is no longer "little"!

In her pretty tutu outfit!

doesn't know what to think about the bouncer:-) lol

My happy, happy girl!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Then and Now...My First Year's Journey in Photography

I have been pondering this question ever since the new year....where I have come from, and where am I going?

I look back to my pictures a year ago, and how my pictures have progressed over the past year. I have become more comfortable with my camera, in my own skin, in the studio, and using natural light. I joined a few forums, took some online classes, and have read as much as I can get my hands on (without going broke;-)

I reflect on all the families that have allowed me to enter into their lives to capture their moments, and have helped me inmprove my craft. I know it is silly, but even after getting discs to clients, I still keep pictures on my external hard drive for myself to look back and enjoy (call me a digital hoarder). I even keep a few raw files in the event I purchase new preset actions for photoshop and want to try them out on old photos.

Everytime I get behind that camera, I think of my beautiful girl, Rosalynn. If not for her passing, I would never be doing this. The inspiration to live life to the fullest and not to take life for granted has molded me over the last year. An d one thing I think of as I am pushing that shutter button and then processing in Photo shop is "I hope this makes her proud of me."

So here is just a glimpse of how my craft has progressed over the past year:

NOW! By NO means am I saying that ANY of these before pictures are bad, personally I LOVE all of them, BUT all of these were in my portfolio building stages, and these are all friends of mine and their families who allowed me to try out my craft on them. AND, by no means am I saying I have perfected anything. I HOPE to do nothing but continue to grow, and learn this year. All I am saying is that through learning and trial and error of this past year, I have least in my own opinion.

My VERY first newborn shoot. Cute, but with a little more knowlegdge of photo shop could have been SOOO much better (i may play with this one a little bit:-)

Again...the first shoot. This coloring technique is a favorite of some...but i have learned that with babies, it is better to stay AWAY from the sephias and orange tinting, b/c then it just makes them look jaundiced (and the goal is if they ARE jaundiced is to take the yellow OUT!)

The most recent newborn shoot. I had added a few cute hats, soft fabrics, learned some tricks to keep babies asleep, learned how to pose them, and learned how to soften and clear up baby skin. OH...and the previous pictures were with using flash while this is using natural light from the parent's sliding glass door!

this IS a self portrait, but one that I LOVE. I love the original color one alittle better, but in talking about photoshop actions to change a photo, yellow is out, and B&W is in:-)

This was actually a VERY succesful shoot, and one that I was vey pleased w/ the results...but once again, it WAS my very first one...and I have come a long way:-)
You probaby see nothing glaringly wrong with this one either...but small things get to the small line on the high key (white back drop) that is paint. I didn't know how to photoshop that at the time. and the pose is nice, but I have found others i like better:-)

This was my most recent shoot (not even completely done being edited yet!) and the use of natural light, the pose, and the thoughtful look on her face are just sooo much more refined in my opinion.

Over the past year, I have really improved my photoshopping skills...and this photo is a great example!!!

This picture is an example of how I have started introducing personal objects into photos. This guitar is a symbol of her mother who passed a year and a half ago. THe emotion I get when looking at this photo is also what I hope she feels (even if NO ONE else understands or "gets" it)

My wish for this next year is that I can perfect the outdoor lighting. Wether it be with reflectors, or just better positioning of my subjects. The sun can be a tricky thing. I also want to continue to improve my photoshopping skills. I have just scratched the surface of what all this program can do! Of course I would like to upgrade/add new equipment to my bag of tricks, but that is the last thing on my list, because there is still ALOT I can improve on with my current gear. Above all, I want to continue and improve upon getting the best photos I can to the people that come into my life for that brief hour and a half. Making the photos beautiful and PERSONAL.

I want to make my daughter proud as she smiles down on me from heaven. She is my inspiration behind all of this!
For those of you who follow me here, would be interested in following on my photography blog, this is the link:  Irish Eyes Photography.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Beautiful Life

If you have been following me for a year or more, you may remember this post, where I wrote about the loss of the patriarch of my dad's side of the family. Well, almost a year later, the matriarch is making her way to be reunited with Grandpa, and to finally be where she has been working her whole life to get to...Heaven.

My older sister and my niece met up at my house yesterday so that we could make the 2 hour trip north to join family at my Grandmother's hospital bed side. I was completely emotionally prepared to say good bye, and thought there was NO way I would cry that bad. We all knew this would happen eventually, we all thought it would have happened closer to when Grandpa passed, so there was no way I would break down....or so I thought.

We were actually surprised, and elated that she had made it the 2 hours it took us to get to the hospital. They had made the decision to take her off the BIPAP and figured it would only be about 30 mins for her oxygen levels to drop and for her to pass. I was thrilled that she had hung on, because I wanted Ava to meet her. I brought her youngest great-grand child up to her bed and placed Ava's hand on Grandma's hand. She had been pretty unresponsive, and semi-comatosed for the past few hours. At that moment, she reached for Ava's hand. I gasped, looked up at my aunt who was sitting across from me, and we both smiled. I started to cry. My grandmother had ALWAYS loved babies...probably why she had 13 of them!! HAHA. She was heartbroken when we lost Rosie, and this was the first time she got to meet Ava.

My Dad joined us, and it was as if he was filled with pride that my niece (the FIRST and oldest great grand child, and my daughter, the NEWEST and youngest (as of now) were there at the same time). He stood next to Grandma holding Ava with pride while telling Grandma all about her.

The next 5 hours were filled with prayer, singing, and memories. Grandma made some signs of responsiveness, and her oxygen levels never really dropped below 90%. It was pretty amazing. IN the Catholic faith, at least the older generations, were taught and believe that you pray souls into heaven. That those in purgatory make it to heaven through the prayers of the saints and through our prayers. One of my aunts was joking that Grandma wasn't taking any chances, that she was making sure we prayed enough for her to bi pass purgatory and pray her directly into heaven. (Note: this is not taught as much in the church now, and I am not even sure I believe it myself...but I will continue to pray "just in case" it is to be right and do it, then not do it and be wrong;-)

Two of my cousins knew a version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet that is sung. As we were singing it, the tears started pouring, and would not stop. It was as if someone turned on a faucet. Prior to all of this, I figured I wouldn't cry because she had lived an amazing LONG life, and we had all been expecting her to go, but as I listened all of the voices raising to heaven, all of the wonderful memories I had of living with my grandparents for 4 months, and the quality time I was able to spend with them started flooding back.

Through tear blurred eyes, I glanced up to look at my father. He was holding Ava tight as the tears poured from his eyes as well. This got to me even more. I think I have seen my father cry 3 times in my life prior to this. I just wanted to hug him and make all the pain go away. However, I noticed that through out the day, each time he would get upset, he would take Ava out of the arms of whoever may be holding her at that moment. It was so if holding her brought peace to him.

Just before I left, I leaned over and whispered into her ear, "I love you Grandma. When you get to heaven please give Rosie and all the other grand babies and great grand babies you never got to meet kisses and hugs for us." After losing Rosalynn I learned that a few of my aunts had multiple had 8, and another had a full term loss like mine, and a few of my cousins have had losses as well. I know that when Grandma gets up there, she is going to LOVE meeting those grandchildren and great grandchildren that she never got to meet!!!

She has made it through the night, and I know there are a few cousins making their way up today, and I pray they all get the chance to have the same experience as I had yesterday. Being able to say goodbye is something that is so comforting. Too many people never get to officially say goodbye to their loved ones, and I am soooo glad so many in my family have this opportunity.

Please pray that she goes peacefully. God Bless!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This is What I Have Been Up To! (And Pictures)

I feel like an AWFUL blogger and online friend! I have been busy with Ava and getting into the groove of motherhood. I really need to write down a schedule:( Ex: 9AM:check email 0930: write blog, 1000: pick up house, etc). There is a BIG reason why I haven't been using my time wisely, other than Ava.

My Photography. It has kind of been going to the next level. I have been so busy shooting, editing, browsing for ideas and tutorials and other photogs' blogs and websites. I search and buy backdrops, and props, and fake floors, backdrop stands and lighting, lenses and even shopping for my second camera body (the Canon 5D Mark II) I use Pintrest for inspiration, and tips and tricks and suggestions for equipment from other professionals. . I use almost all of my computer time doing SOMETHING related to my photography.

I have to upkeep my Official Website, keeping up my facebook page and now just started scheduling regular posts for my Photography Blog. I am now trying to think of creative venues to market myself. I want to focus more on newborn and maternity, but shoot every category. Where should I even start marketing?!?! It is all overwhelming. However, I know once i figure it all out, it will come easier. I HAVE to get on a schedule though. I need to set aside time to edit and deal with the photography while still having a life...almost like a 9-5 job.

Ava makes it even more interesting balancing everything. And this is someone who once juggled work, school, non-profit, photography all at the same time! I hate sitting in front of the computer while she is awake..and that is becoming more and more. So I usually wait till Foster gets home to work on stuff. Like I said, it will all come together, and get easier the more comfortable I get, but in the mean time, things like this blog have taken the back seat, along with keeping up with others' blogs. Please forgive me!

Here are just a few of my recent pictures so you can see why blogs (mine and others') have been neglected lately. I promise I will figure it out:-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Different Kind of Christmas

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is settling, I have started to reflect on this past few weeks. I read my post 1 year ago, on Christmas Day. If you are interested, you can read it here.

I didn't have to work this year, so Foster and I attended 10 pm Christmas Eve mass. My parents and amazing Aunt joined us as we took our seats with our 10 week old daughter in our arms. Although this holiday has been ALOT easier on our hearts because Avaleen is with us, I still bawled like a baby. As "Little Drummer Boy" (My Granny's favorite song) and "Oh Holy Night" was sung by the church choir, the tears started streaming. It was a mix of emotions only someone who has been through this same type of journey can completely understand. I was sad, and happy, grieving and celebrating, missing my first born while holding and loving on my second. It was an amazing feeling, and instead of trying to suppress the tears I let them flow.

As you can imagine, Avabean (as she has so lovingly been called) was spoiled rotten by friends and family. At almost12 weeks old, she is growing and learning every day. My sister in laws and mother in law gave her so many learning tools, and fun music/light toys. She is obsessed with lights! Aunt Bug got her a "baby TV" for her crib. It is a little aquarium that plays lights and music, and ever since we have put her to sleep with it, Ava has been sleeping 7 hours a night!!!

She got clothes galore and gift cards to target that were used to purchase her new play mat and Bumbo chair

These are all "things" however, and they are not as important as the love and time that was shared this Christmas season.

Although some of our family members were upset, Foster and I made a very important decision for our own little family this year. We wanted to just spend the 25th with the three of us...and of course the two dogs. I can't explain it. It has been a very stressful, crazy first two years of marriage, and we wanted to just slow down and be a family. Think about it, we were engaged and 5 weeks later found out we were pregnant with Rosalynn. We bumped up our wedding, and were newly weds, pregnant on our first Christmas as a family. Then, we had the devastating loss of our daughter 5 months later. The next 10 months was filled with grieving and try to conceive our second child. These 10 months included our first Christmas WITHOUT Rosalynn. After finally creating Ava, it was another 9 months of a high-risk, high-stressed, emotional roller coaster of pregnancy after stillbirth.

All written down like that, it is so sad for me to see how Foster and I have really not had a "normal" first 2 years of marriage. It was very important to us to just stop....and relax and enjoy our first Christmas with Ava. So this is what we did:

all ready to go for a Christmas walk/hike

REALLY excited about our family outing

Dad with all the "kids"

Rowdy man! SOOO pretty!

my gorgeous Reagan girl

in the woods

Reagan playing in the creek

Ava in the Baby Bjorn...loves being on Dad's chest!
As you can tell, it was a beautiful Christmas afternoon. There was a chill in the air, but the sun was out and it raised our spirits. We were soooo happy to just quietly bask in our new little family.

Last but not least, I got a great Christmas gift form my job. I was going to return for two weeks in order to leave on good terms and finish out my time in the Emergency Department. I called my boss a few weeks ago to coordinate a schedule. We started talking, and he said that unless I needed the money financially, he would be willing to let me forgo the 2 weeks notice, and simply be done. We had rolled out a new computer system while I was on maternity leave, and he said by the time I learned it, I would be leaving, so I could consider that phone call as my two weeks notice, and I would be considered leaving on good terms and have a recommendation from him if ever needed. So as of January 4th, 2012 I will officially be a stay at home mom!! I am sooo excited, nervous, and hopeful. My new boss can be demanding at times, but I can't think of a better job to have:-)


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