July 19th, 2011

Christina’s take on “What not to say to a pregnant woman”

  1. If you ask, “when are you due?” and the woman replies with her due date, don’t say “Are you sure?” Yes, really, I’m sure, and so is my doctor.  Thanks for your concern.
  2. “Are you sure there’s not more than one in there?” Not especially fun for someone who’s lost multiples, and especially insulting b/c it insinuates you look huge to strangers.
  3. You’ll sure have your hands full! And I don’t already have my hands full with two boys under four (and two dogs)?  What’s another little person?  We already have all the stuff we need!
  4. After asking the woman if she knows the sex, and learning it’s a boy, don’t ask “Are you going to try for a girl?” (or vice-versa)  Can we get this baby here safe and sound, first? 
  5. Tying into #4 – saying, “Oh, you must be so disappointed!” isn’t exactly polite.  I’m very happy to have a healthy, living baby, thank you.
  6. “Oh, you can eat whatever you want!” Not really – by week 24 I find there’s not much room for eating!
  7. “Was this one planned?”  Why is that?  Is it because the national average is 2.1 children per household, or because you really don’t think that after having 2 that we don’t know where babies come from? 
  8.  “You’re done now, right?” Really?  Are you my family planning counselor? Should I consult with you first? 
  9. “Wow, he’s going to be really big!” So are you trying to tell me I look huge?
  10. “Can I touch your belly?”  Usually asked by someone just as rotund as me; I don’t ask them if I can touch one of their body parts.

I’ve had some great comments too!  Here are some of them, in random order:

  •  Pregnancy looks great on you!
  • You can’t even tell you’re pregnant from behind! (that I KNEW they were fudging!)
  • What a blessing you are carrying!
I’m sure since I have 11 weeks left to go, I’ll have more to add!



July 14th, 2011

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech Delay, and a new baby on the way, oh my!

So I’ve been MIA for many months from my personal blog.  Part of the reason is because my photography biz has really taken off, which I’m super happy about, but the other part is there’s been a LOT going on in my life/our lives.

I can’t list them in priority order, b/c they’re all top priority, but I AM going to bullet things out b/c I feel like it will help me keep my thoughts organized.

First and foremost, we need a recent pic of my boys – I can’t believe how big they are.  They really love each other, despite how many arguments they may have.

  • Nicholas was enrolled in preschool at Brighton Tot Spot, at the Miller Building, run through Brighton Community Education and falling under the Brighton Area Schools umbrella.  The change we saw in him from October of last year to the end of May was amazing.  He made SO much progress in his social skills, and I owe a LOT to his teacher, Louise Vamvounis, and her assistant teacher, Amy Staszel.  They were FANTASTIC with him.

    In the winter, they approached me about some issues they were having with him, which in turn ended up involving special education, which resulted in an eventual IEP meeting with them.  We are very lucky that Mrs. V & Mrs. Staszel noticed that his ‘quirks’ were affecting his interactions with his peers and his daily activities.From the IEP, we learned that he met the educational  criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (which was really no surprise to me and Nick)  As a result, he is receiving speech, OT, and PT services during the school year while he attends preschool.

  • Tying into the above point, in May we participated in a study at the UMACC (University of Michigan Autism & Communications Disorders Center.  He underwent extensive testing, including THE gold standard in evaluating Autism, the ADOS, which was developed by the head of UMACC, Catherine Lord.  Nick and I were also interviewed and those were taken into consideration.The results of the study might come as a surprise to some people, but not to us.  Nicholas meets the criteria for a Medical Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    We’d been dealing with some sensory issues for some time (since last October, when we were referred to Leaps & Bounds in Whitmore Lake by the Howell School District, who knew Nicholas had issues but didn’t feel he met the requirements for intervention), and his new therapist, Carrie, has really made a lot of progress with him.  We started with a different therapist and a few months into things, switched to another OT.  She has gotten him to eat pretty much anything I bring for him to try (excluding chicken/turkey – for some reason, he doesn’t like it), and now he’s even asking for ice cream and the other day had FOUR gummi bears.  These are HUGE accomplishments.The ASD diagnosis came with some recommendations; we’re still working on accommodating our family schedule to include all of these therapies but not leave out Christopher.Here is a recent photo of Nicholas:

  •  Speaking of Christopher – what a joy he is.  I have to admit – having a child on the spectrum first, and then having a ‘neuro-typical’ child has thrown us for a bit of a loop.  Nick and I have gotten so used to solving Nicholas’ tantrums in the ways that work for HIM that we didn’t know what to do with Christopher’s stereo-typical toddler defiant behavior.  Luckily, I had bought a book when Nicholas was just Christopher’s age and it IS applying to Christopher’s behaviors whereas it didn’t relate to Nicholas at all.

    In addition to being a defiant toddler, Christopher has an AMAZING personality (everyone just flocks to him – he’s magnetic) and he works it too.  He knows he has charm and he’s definitely an actor – if he doesn’t grow up to be a thespian, then he’s going to be in sales or management or something like that – though for being so good at the acting, he’s definitely amazing with puzzles and other things as well!

    He receives speech therapy 1x a month from Early On, through LESA, but we’re looking into doing some more work with him on the private side as well, at Leaps & Bounds.  We *think* part of the reason he doesn’t talk much is b/c Nicholas LOVES to be an ‘announcer’ where he narrates what he and Christopher are doing all day long – I think he doesn’t talk much b/c I’ve let him get away with not talking and pointing…we’ll see.We think he’s going to be a FABULOUS big brother!  Here’s a recent favorite of Christopher:

  • I am pregnant with baby #5, baby boy #3, due 10/3/11.  Currently 28w and feeling HUGE, and the infinite weather changes don’t help my cause.  This baby is sitting SO low that I can literally pick up my belly and lift him up.  Kind of interesting and kind of disturbing at the same time, right?  The latest news with this pregnancy is that I didn’t pass my 1 hour glucose test, so I have to go in on Saturday AM and do a 3-hour test, which isn’t fun, from what I’ve heard.

    Another fun thing to note about this pregnancy – for some reason, Nicholas started calling the baby Robbie.  We’re not 100% sure of where he got it from, but I *think* that he got it from the Winnie-the-Pooh book.  See, he first suggested that we call the baby Christopher, and I explained that we already HAD a Christopher, so we had to think of something else, and he suggested “Robbie”.  Looking back, I wonder if he saw “Christopher Robin” and dropped the ‘n’ and “Robbie” was his name.  Now, we’re not announcing WHAT the baby’s name will be, but for now, we ARE referring to him as Robbie, since that is what both Nicholas AND Christopher refer to him as.

  • Here I am on the 5th of July at 27w1d.  Photo taken by my dear friend, Cheree Federico, of Cheree Federico Photography, in Bowling Green KY.Image taken by Cheree Federico Photography

February 6th, 2011

Impromptu photo session | PJs on Superbowl Sunday

When the boys ask to take pictures in my studio, I rarely turn them down.  It’s so much easier to take photos of them when it’s THEIR idea!

Anyway…today’s Superbowl Sunday so we’ve had a very relaxing day at home, in our PJs all day.

First up, Nicholas, followed by Christopher.

February 6th, 2011

12 in 2011 | Number One | Photos for ME

I decided that I would try doing a project this year. Many photographers do a project 365, where they take and post one personal picture a day…but with all of our therapy appointments and other things going on (more on those later), I decided to do a Project 12 – one personal picture a month of my boys, together…if I could get it.

This one is an impromptu snapshot taken in my studio – the boys wanted to join in on a session I was doing with my friend and her son, Nicholas’ buddy, Noah.

It’s not perfect, technically speaking, but to me, it speaks volumes.

Christopher’s body language showcases his big personality and Nicholas’ lack of eye contact is something that we encounter almost every day.  Again, more on that later.  Nonetheless, they’re becoming friends and I want to make sure I capture that.

February 4th, 2011

Lots of changes and playing catch up!

This is just a post to please ask for your patience as I figure out what I want the new layout to be for ODHW!

Here’s my new logo – what do you think?

December 24th, 2010

Merry Christmas from our family to yours…

We have SO much to be thankful for…and so we wish your family a very Merry Christmas!

December 22nd, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

Just wanted to share the pic I took of our tree a few weeks back!

December 22nd, 2010

Happy Birthday to Mommy!

Nicholas singing to me tonight!

December 22nd, 2010

The meaning behind "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

A friend of mine posted something today that I knew I would share.  It’s the story behind “The 12 Days of Christmas” song…a book by Helen Haidle.  Here’s a condensed version from http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/yourti102896.html

The Twelve Days of Christmas  — The Meaning Behind The Song

The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.

The Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” may sound silly and contrived to many of us. But it actually had its origins in religious symbolism – and with a serious purpose.

It dates from a time of religious persecution. The song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” was written as a kind of secret catechism that could sing in public without fear of arrest – a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact.

The song can be taken at two levels of interpretation – the surface meaning, or the hidden meaning known only to the Christians involved. Each element is a code word for a religious truth.

1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.

2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.

5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.

6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.

9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.

12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

If you think Jesus being symbolized as a partridge in a pear tree sounds blasphemous, remember:

“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so.” (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34)

The “true love” in the song refers to God Himself.  The “me” receiving the gifts is every Christian.  So that “silly” song we sing at Christmas time has more meaning than we thought.

December 22nd, 2010

Entering a new demographic category!

Tomorrow I turn 35…some days I can hardly believe it, and then others…phew!  I look in the mirror and wonder if I’m not older!  I always said I’d never get plastic surgery but I’m not so sure now!

This year has been a WHIRLWIND!

At this time last year…I was still wondering if I could make a go at my photography biz…I had NO idea that I would be SO busy a year later that I’m now behind on personal pictures!

There’s SO much that I need to catch up on, but I’ll do that at a later time.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has supported me in making a go of this business.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has supported me in my personal ventures this last year – scheduling appointments for me, the boys, and looking to find sitters for them has been fun.

Nick and I celebrated our FIVE year wedding anniversary on November 5th with a trip to Cherry Blossom in Novi…it’s a Japanese restaurant that he won gift certificates to when he won a golf tourney this summer.

The boys are growing like weeds – I just can’t believe that my BABY will be two in just a few months.  At the same time…I can’t believe that it’s been over FOUR years since we said goodbye to our girls.  Just the other night…I had a little bit of a difficult time.  It tends to hit me harder around the holidays.

We are taking a family vacation soon so I’ll be sure to post some pics from that upon our return.

For now…Happy Birthday to me!  :)