Wednesday, April 29, 2009


For those of you who don't know my friend Lauren, here are the top 5 reasons I love her:

5. She got me a patient controlled morphine drip.

4. She's always up for chick flicks and thai food.

3. She kept me company when I lived on every unit in the hospital.

2. She makes me laugh.

1. She helped save my life and Marino's life.

I'll save the whole long story of how we met for a day in the future when I need to cathartically purge myself of the whole painful thing. For now, let's just say the first Lauren heard of me was when a nurse called her and said ::eye roll:: "Lauren, you've got one on the floor here" and I dragged her down the hall to a L&D room where she checked me and said "you're only 1 centimeter, its going to be while" to which I replied "I'm not in %^$#@ labor!!!!!!!!!!!" I mean, isn't that how all true friendships begin? But in all seriousness, Lauren's quick actions (once she figured out I wasn't an overdramatic laboring mom) and good decision making saved us. She's definately one of the few people who have come into my life where I immediately understood why God put them there. She's a great friend!

Here's Lauren and Marino.

And here is vintage Marino and Lauren (he's a month old in this picture).
You know who loves Lauren even more than me? Max! Max is completely obsessed with her, its sort of ridiculous.

In other news, while Marino is doing much much better with his breathing, etc, Mama is now sick. I think it started off as just allergies but progressed to either a sinus infection or some sort of blockage in my sinuses. I haven't been able to smell or taste since Saturday (good for weight loss, but it makes eating pretty unfulfilling) and I have pain in my face, ears and teeth. I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow but hoping I don't need antibiotics (my goal is to avoid antibiotics for a year from when I last took them - December - to hopefully avoid a reoccurence of c.diff).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

'Notha Day, 'Notha Milestone

I'm joking being flippant about it, but its amazing how fast Marino is picking up new things this month. This evening, Evan and I were talking while Marino crawled around. The next thing we know, he's sitting up! Yup, the boy can get from belly to sitting now, using a sideways motion (Melody, its an "off" week for us, so I hope you're reading). I can't believe it. Commando crawling, pulling up and belly to sit all since Easter (I picked a good month to start this blog:))!

In other news, our four legged baby is completely OBSESSED with Baby MumMums. He keeps stealing unopened packages from my diaper bag and eating them, wrapper and all. Of course, Marino sharing them with him is not helping this addiction.

Hope to get a video of the fancy sitting soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Boy Stuff (Quick Update)

I woke up this morning to Evan yelling "Sara get in here!" on the monitor. Scary! I though Marino was bleeding or something else awful had happened. Nope. The boy was standing up in his crib, looking very pleased with himself. Until today, the only things he had been motivated to pull up on were Evan and I, so it was a big day.

He also had big boy food today. I pureed my dinner: chicken, rice and mixed vegetables for him. He loved it! Normally he hates every new food the first time I offer it, but not this! He gobbled it up, looking blissfully happy the whole time!

My boy is getting so big ::sniff::

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lesson Learned - A Long Day

One of the very cool things about a baby's first year of life is that you are still getting to know each other. There's always a new experience in which you have no idea how the baby will react. Today I learned that a hot Marino = a cranky Marino. It was 90 degrees here today and Marino has never been outside in 90 degree weather, aside from the 15 minutes a day the kind doctors in the PICU prescribed for him when we were there in August (that was really more for Mama's sake than Marino's). Over the course of the day, I learned that the boy and heat are not friends.

This morning we had our first Waterbabies class. Would you believe Marino is the only boy? 9 baby girls and Marino. He did great and was probably the happiest baby there. He was fine with being dunked and especially loved floating around on his back with me. We made some new friends, and one enemy:) In the locker room, I had him down on the floor while I changed. Another mom put her little girl next to him to keep them occupied. Marino happily started babbling to the little girl, who immediately started screaming. Marino was stunned! This was the first time he ever got a reaction like that! He started sobbing...that was the beginning of the crabbiness.

Next we were off to the March of Dimes March for Babies. Thank you so much to everyone who donated to us. Thanks to you, we raised $820! It feels wonderful knowing there is something we can do to help other families of premature babies (and hopefully prevent prematurity in general). We're so grateful for all the support we received on Marino's behalf. We were pretty late to the walk, since we had our swim class beforehand but Sarah and Claire met us there and we walked together. Here's a picture of Marino and I at the walk.

and Marino and Claire (can you tell they are hot?!)

Marino and Claire also had some time to play together, but it was very hot and neither of them seemed very motivated to play. Marino also started crying for no apparent reason, a theme that played out for the rest of the day.

Next we were off to my wonderful friend Patti's baby shower. Patti is a really great person and she is going to make a fabulous mom. She is wonderful with Marino and kids in general. Her baby is due in June. When we got to the shower, Marino's cousin Pacey was soooooo excited to see him! She made these squealing happy noises and immediately he was in tears. The entire time we were there, everytime she made that noise, he would cry. Agh, I hope we didn't ruin the shower with all the crying!

After the shower, Miranda and Pacey came over to play. Marino took a 20 minute nap which improved his mood somewhat. But everytime Pacey made her happy noises, forget it. The boy was reaching for me and sobbing! This picture pretty much sums it up!

But there were some happy moments too...

Daddy was nice enough to blow up Marino's very cool baby pool for us while he was watching the NFL draft. Marino liked the pool...until Pacey decided she hated it, and then Marino didn't like it either.
Marino is now fast asleep after his very long day. I'll definately have to keep in mind that he is lot more cranky in the heat...its just so different from his usual happy-go-lucky personality.

I also wanted to update everyone that his wheezing is completely gone and his cough is almost gone as well. We're very thankful for that and hoping this is the end of his breathing issues!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Very Quick Update

We took Marino back to the pediatrician today so she could listen to his airways. She thought he was sounding better (I noticed there was no wheezing today, but he is still having coughing fits). So, we're staying the same treatment course for 3 more days and then switching to just using pulmicort once a day for 3 weeks. Hopefully that will do the trick!

After the doctor, we went to go watch Daddy play softball. Marino really liked the softball game, especially since Daddy's team is the Red Cups (they wear red shirts, his favorite color) and everyone claps a lot (the boy loves clapping).

Good night!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

6 Month Physical Therapy Update

Yes, 2 posts in one day! I have a lot to say today!

As many of you know, Marino receives physical therapy through the Early Intervention Infants and Toddlers Program. This program is funded by the state and, in Maryland, run by the school system. Its designed to assist babies and pre-school age children with developmental issues as early as possible to circumvent issues in later years. Its really been a blessing for us in a number of ways, and I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone has about it.

We have a really wonderful therapist named Melody (and I'm not just saying that because she reads this blog; she really is great). Marino loves her and she provides me with a lot of good feedback and ideas on how to motivate Marino. We went through a very long period where it felt like we were getting no where (from sitting up to commando crawling was a long 3 months with no changes) and Melody helped keep me sane by pointing out more subtle fine motor skills Marino was developing that I might not have otherwise noticed.

Marino has been in the program for 6 months now, so she gave me his 6 month progress report this week. I am very proud to share that he is now at the 9 month developmental range for most areas (cognitive, social/emotional and gross motor). He is only behind in expressive language skills (he mainly uses "ahh" as his form of expressive language) but at the 9 month range in receptive language. He is also in the 12 month range for fine motor skills! Maybe he will become an artist? Check out these painting skills:

He actually started pointing at things today in therapy.

Today in our physical therapy session, we had an extra therapist sit in. We all talked about ways to motivate babies to crawl and I wanted to introduce a wonderful tool in motivating baby movement...the Italian Greyhound!

Perhaps all therapist should bring Italian Greyhounds with them to therapy sessions - they really make a baby want to move!

Sneakers, Swimsuits and Breathing Treatments

I got a chance to take some pictures today, so Marino wanted me to share with you some of his cool new things!

First are his new shoes (good for boys learning to crawl and needing traction) that Grandma bought him.

And here he is modeling his new swim trunks. He and I are starting Waterbabies class on Saturday, so he had to try on his trunks to make sure they fit! Here are some cute pictures of Marino, Max (Max pictures are for you, Melody!) and Mama (unflattering pictures of Mama, but all pictures of Mama are unflattering these days).

After all this fun, we let the boy try cheese for the first time. It was a hit!

We've been doing the breathing treatments for 36 hours now, and honestly, it seems like his cough and wheezing are getting worse. Maybe its a "get worse before it gets better" type of thing?

A fellow preemie mom told me that the nebulizer treatments just have to within 6 inches of his face, not necessarily "on" his face. So Evan and I were sort of inventive with them tonight. Marino definately does not want to wear the mask, but he enjoys chewing on it, so its a good distraction.

He also likes chewing on all the parts, and if that gets him to sit still and remain calm, it works for us!

We go back to the doctor tomorrow to check on his airways, so let's hope the doctor hears some improvement!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sick Day, Take 2

Today we took our second sick day in less than a week. And not just because we had so much fun the last time. Marino started coughing more and wheezing on Sunday so I decided I had to take him to the doctor (fearing RSV) even though I felt a little neurotic. She agreed that he was sounding worse so she gave him a nebulizer treatment which improved his airways a lot. Essentially he has "bronchitis" but she said they no longer use that term and just refer to it as inflammation of the airways. So, in the short term at least, he'll need to use a nebulizer with albuterol and pulmicort every 6 hours. We have always been aware that asthma was a possibility since he had underdeveloped lungs at birth (he also has ezcema, which is an early indicator of asthma) but its too soon to know if this is what he has now or if its the result of a virus.

He hated the breathing treatment in the doctor's office but when I did at home, he was laughing and watching the mist. Hopefully, the interest in it will continue.

Luckily, since Marino goes to a daycare for medically fragile children and they have nurses on staff, he can still go to daycare, since they can administer the treatments there. We got back to the doctor on Thursday to see how he sounds. Thankfully, he is still in his usual high spirits.

Sorry no cute pictures today - we've had no good photo ops in the past couple of days.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Spring

Spring also means...


This seems strange, since Marino is 9 1/2 months old already, but yesterday was the first day he felt grass! He only tried to put it in his mouth twice and then was content with just ripping it out of the ground like an adorable lawnmower. I think he was amazed there was an endless supply of things to rip up!

Here are a few pictures of Marino and his friend Claire. Claire is the daughter of my wonderful friend and (former, as of Friday at 5pm) co-worker, Sarah. Sarah and I were pregnant at the same time (our due dates were only 5 weeks apart, although we ended up having the babes 3 months apart) and it was so wonderful to have a friend at work to discuss pregnancy and babies with every day - I will miss seeing her everyday, although we will still see each other all the time. Saturday was also Claire's first experience with grass.

Prior to this weekend, Marino had only been giving kisses to Evan, Max and I. But on Saturday, he started also giving kisses to his baby friends! He gave kisses to Claire and also to his cousin Raiden. Very sweet!

Spring also means...


On Saturday afternoon, we all took a ride to Brian and Kim's house for their housewarming party. Luckily, Marino was tired on the way there and slept the entire 90 minute trip (there was some traffic fiasco). We were not so lucky on the way home:(

Anyway, Marino was wonderful at the party. There was a lot to see and he was happy to chat with everyone. Here is a picture of him and Daddy. Evan has been dying to put him in this adorable outfit my friend Sonia bought for Marino when he was first born.

There were plenty of babies at the party for Marino to chat with. Here is a picture of Evan and Marino with Evan's good friend, Wally, and his adorable daughter, Bella.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I just love taking Marino new places and seeing him experience things for the first time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring is Here!

Spring means:

Walks around the lake.

Hanging in his stroller. He likes the way the visor feels, so he pulls it down to rake his fingers over it. He also has an issue sitting still, so the stroller ride sometimes gets a little complicated. The stroller also doubles as a teether. Spring also means...


He loves to swing.

More spring posts to come...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sick Day

Today was the first day Marino needed to stay home sick. Considering he was a preemie (read: born without normal antibodies to fight illness), in daycare, and 9.5 months old, its pretty amazing this is his first post-meningitis illness. He's had a lingering runny nose for about 10 days but it recently progressed into a cough and runny nose. Last night he had a low grade fever so I took him to see our (amazing, wonderful) pediatrician, Dr. Rahman. She checked his ears out and, after enduring a lot of screaming, pronounced them pink and swollen with the left looking worse than the right. So, our boy has his first ear infection.

He'll have to take antibiotics for 10 days and then he should be fine. Hopefully he'll get rid of whatever is causing the runny nose at the same time. He is a little fussy, but generally still his happy self.

So, today is our first sick day together. The good thing about sick days with your child, I've learned today, is you get to spend lots of quality time together. You also have time to record videos of their very slow commando crawling.

Since we're working on feeding him regular foods and teaching him how to feed himself, I gave him Baby MumMums for the first time today. Basically they are flavored air (seriously, 4 of these things has 30 calories), aka: rice rusks. But, the boy loved them and ate 2 of them in 5 minutes.

Hopefully tomorrow he will be better (or at least not have a fever) and he can return to daycare, although I won't be disappointed if we have another day home together! I'm sure I'll say this about every age until about 13, but this is my favorite age! He's so much fun and so loving! He'll be so busy playing with something and then he'll stop and give me a hug and a big. drooly, open mouth kiss and go back to playing. I just really enjoy being with him and we had such a nice day today, ear infection and all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Marino is a lucky boy. He has lots of baby cousins to play with! A couple weeks ago, we got a chance to visit with 3 baby cousins in one weekend!

First we got a chance to visit with Pacey, my cousin Miranda's daughter. Pacey was born less than 2 weeks after Marino, so they are very close in age. They love each other. Here you can see Marino attempting to steal a Cheerio from Pacey.

And here he tries to steal a sock.

And now he attempts to munch on Pacey's toes.

They love each other. It's pretty adorable.

The next day we got a chance to visit with Marino's cousins, Raiden and Jahvon. Raiden's dad, Rashaan, and Jahvon's dad, Ahmad, are Evan's sixth cousins twice removed or something but cousins none-the-less. They are also two of Evan's best friends. Raiden is now 6 months and Jahvon is now 5 months. We have high hopes the three of them will be best friends like their daddies.

Here are the three of them together. Raiden is on the left and Jahvon is on the right. Marino is clearly the one causing a ruckus in the middle.

I'm a fan of baby hand holding, so I like this picture.

And here are the babies escaping the picture taking.
The End.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Marino's first Easter was wonderful! Grandma and Grandpa Ray came from NY on Thursday to visit and watched him on Good Friday while Evan and I were at work. They went for walks, went on the swings, and Marino scared Grandma with his ninja/daredevil rolling skills.

On Saturday, I took Marino to his 9 month pediatrician appointment. He's now 18 pounds, 8 ounces (17th percentile for actual age) and 26.5 inches long (3rd percentile for actual age). And his head is, well, enormous (89th percentile for actual age). It must be accomodating a very large brain!

We got the ok to start giving him some table food (pureed) and a few snacks. We tried Rice Krispies but those mainly ended up in a pile crushed on the floor for Max. Yogurt Melts were slightly more successful.

On Easter, Marino got his first Easter basket. He was pretty excited about the toys inside, especially the counting/stacking cups I got him. He was actually able to put one inside the other, who knew? Grammy Deb came over and gave him a special blue bunny that sings "Tutti Frutti." He loves this bunny!

We went over to the Richmond's for Easter brunch. The Richmond's are our friends we met in the NICU. Their son, Hayden, had an isolette directly next to Marino's in the NICU and their due dates were only a few days apart. It was great to see them and brunch was great. Always the party animal, Marino has not learned a) how not to dominate a brunch conversation and b) how not to break his host's beautiful glasses (sorry, Audra!).

When we got home, Marino began pseudo-crawling! He gets on his knees and propels himself forward using his toes! Its not a very effective crawl yet, but he definately gets himself where he's trying to go. Evan and I really need to baby proof this weekend!