Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's Go Swimming!

We eventually did get to the pool, just not last Friday. Saturday worked out just as well, though!

And you'd better believe it won't be the last time we swim this summer! Although we don't have a public pool anywhere near us, we are fortunate enough to have some really great friends with pools. :) Which is even better!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Day of Summer Vacation

We had grandiose plans for our first official day of no school:

-stay up late the night before with our glow-in-the-dark chalk
-sleep in late
-big hot breakfast (as opposed to a pop tart in the car!)
-meet our friends at their hotel pool
-lunch at Taco Bell with Daddy
-play the rest of the day outside
-watch new movies from the library

Instead, only the movie watching happened.

Who allowed it to rain?

Oh well, at least they had fun in the puddles.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jaina's 9th Birthday

While I sat on my bum and recovered from my brief hospital stay last Sunday, I watched as all my great friends took care of EVERYTHING for Jaina's party. They did set up, take down, helped kids get skates, took pictures, and beyond. I am extremely grateful for all my wonderful friends! Jaina's party was a success (except for the Ugly Doll Shirts, more on that later).

Our good friend Dodi supplied us with awesome cupcakes yet again. I'm pretty sure there's nothing this creative cakester can't do.

We brought our Ugly Dolls for table decorations, too.

Jaina received very thoughtful presents that fit her personality well. She's in Zooble heaven :)

And of course, there was some serious skating going on! I was so bummed to miss out. I love roller skating :)

So, unfortunately, the ugly doll shirts (as cute as they looked) were a huge fail. They started peeling off even before the kids got home with them. And washing them? Um, no, not recommended. My mom says you get what you pay for. Obviously on sale iron-on transfers from Walmart are not equal to the expensive ones from Michael's craft store. Oh well, lesson learned!

Thank you to everyone that made her day special! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Lowdown on Baby Number Three

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Your wishes of congratulations just warm my heart! I am just over the moon about our news :) Thanks for sharing the excitment with me!

So, as you know, we've been trying for about 12 months. I've been charting my temperature (to track ovulation), taking Vitamin B6 and Vitamin A (to help lengthen my luteal phase), using natural progesterone cream (to balance my hormones), and I had just recently started taking an 81 mg low dose baby Aspirin (which I read helps increase blood flow to the uterus to help implantation).

And you know what worked?

Um, probably none of it :)

Based on my previous charts, I was pretty sure I'd be ovulating on Easter weekend, while at my parent's house in Tucker, GA. This was a bit concerning to me since Brian doesn't celebrate Easter (unless you count stealing the kids chocolate bunny for himself celebrating) and wasn't planning on going with us. Thankfully we were pretty sure his "swimmers" weren't really the issue in our infertility, and since they can "tread water" for 3-5 days, we just made sure we were friends a lot that week prior. Actually, he was probably glad I went away for the weekend so I would quit pestering him to do it :)

I was so excited to get a nice pre-ov drop on Saturday and a nice rise on Sunday in my temperature.

There I am,  blissfully unaware of the miracle that is taking place :)

We return home that Monday and we all go back to the daily grind. I watch as my temperatures slowly start to fall.

And I cried. And decided to stop all this crap that we were doing. I needed a break. So, just a few days after ovulation, I stopped taking my vitamins and progesterone cream and taking my temperature. I didn't, however, stop taking my 81 mg of aspirin because I found that it really helped keep my daily headaches at bay.

I made an appointment with PREG (Piedmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group) for a consultation on June 1st. I was going to quit researching why I wasn't conceiving on the internet and finally leave it up to a specialist.

The next weekend was Mother's Day weekend. I had 4 photography shoots lined up. My calendar showed me that my cycle was supposed to start on the Friday before.

"Just great. It will probably start during a shoot out in the wilderness and I'll be scrambling to find a bathroom."

But it didn't. It didn't start all weekend. But I was NOT getting my hopes up. I had falling temperatures, remember? Just like every other month. When you are pregnant, your temperatures rise and stay risen. Mine were certainly not.

Then Monday came around again. I had two pregnancy tests left from the big box.

I could scarcely believe my eyes....

No frickin' way.

My hands were literally shaking as I pick up the test and run and shove it under my husband's nose while still in bed. Um, let's just say being woken up like that was not on his list of favorite things. He was much happier with the news later. Although he pretended to cry because that's just Brian :)

I came upstairs and posted to my FB that I was having a great morning. Immediately, 3 of my best friends messaged me/called me: "Are you pregnant??" So, yes, I told them immediately. I can't keep news like that from my best friends!

Throughout the week, I made sure to tell my mom in person and a few other close friends as I saw them. But I wanted to keep it from my kids. 9 months is a long time. The closer I could get to my 2nd month of pregnancy, the better. Besides, I wanted to wait until Jayce had a "visual" of the baby through u/s or could at least hear the heartbeat.

However, my trip to the ER changed that. By the way, the intestinal blockage and pregnancy are totally unrelated. It is just a coincidence, I promise. I've been sick at least two other times during my pregnancies and I am sure that neither one effects each other.

But because they had to rule out ectopic pregnancy and check to see if everything was okay, I had an ultrasound at 5 weeks, 6 days gestation. Everything looked perfect!

Jayce says, "So, when they were looking at your tummy with the x-ray, they found a baby in there?" Um, sure.... I'm going to let him think that! I had to promise him that in all my sickness, I would NOT throw up the baby by accident :)

So, I made it 6 weeks without telling most people. I know, I know, I know... tradition usually calls for 10-14 weeks to wait. I'm sorry, I just can't. The only reason I waited with Jaina is because I had no idea I was pregnant and didn't even test until 8 weeks and didn't even go to the doctor until 14 weeks. With Jayce, I told everyone 10 days after I ovulated!

Here's how I see it...

Miscarriages happen. They are devastating. If I am going to have a miscarriage, I want the emotional support of my friends and family with me. The same people that are sharing the joy in this pregnancy with me would also be there to comfort me if there is a loss. I am not a private person; I wear my heart on my sleeve. I would never want to go through a miscarriage alone with just me knowing what had happened.

I do respect people's decisions to wait to share news, I really do. Its just not for me.

So, as I write this, I'll be 7 weeks along on Sunday. I'm extremely tired about 3 or 4 o'clock every afternoon, but other than that, things are great.

I still haven't passed the bowel obstruction, though. So I'm on a really easy-to-digest diet until that happens. I can't wait to eat whatever I want again!

Thank you, again, for all your well-wishes. We are so excited!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Field Day 2011

Jayce finally got to participate in a field day :)

And boy was he ever proud!

The entire class wore their special tie-dyed shirts that they made a few months ago for a field trip.

I couldn't figure out why Jayce's shirt was so small... until I realized that I must have grabbed a plain white undershirt to take to school at the last minute. And since we haven't bought Jayce any new undershirts since he was 4, I am pretty sure its a Fruit of the Loom size 2-4 T that he's wearing in that picture.

Luckily, Jayce cares not about these trivial things.

He just wanted to run.

(is it awful of me to have wanted to shout, "Run, Forest, Run!" when I saw my low-muscle toned boy run across the field? My first thought was that he really needed an ABA program to help him learn how to run properly!)

Jaina, however, was a seasoned pro at this Field Day thing.

And of course, hanging out with your friends is the best part of field day!

What a great end to the school year!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Crazy Weekend

I'll apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. I think you'll be understanding of me just this once.

It was very fortunate that I was able to get all the Ugly Doll shirts made ahead of time. Normally I am a huge procrastinator with pretty much everything; chores, assignments, reports, photo editing, kids' school projects, you name it.

So, when I woke up Friday morning with a nauseous stomach, I wasn't too worried. I have an intestinal condition and indigestion kinda goes with the game.By lunch time, I really didn't feel well. But the food sitting in front of me looked, smelled, and tasted great, so I managed to eat a bit despite my protesting stomach. For any of you locals, we had dined at Wade's that day. I had the hamburger steak with rice, gravy, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and broccoli cheese casserole. YUM!

I then left to go get the kids from school. All I wanted to do was go lay down! Finally we got home and I did just that. But while I was laying down, I was thinking about how I was going to clean the bathroom and how I really needed to vacuum the playroom and there was laundry and dishes and all that jazz.

I made myself get up at 4 PM when Jayce's ABA therapist got there. I have this fear of being seen as a lazy mom so I always try to do some type of house work while they are there :) This time I dragged my nauseous self over to the playroom to start cleaning up. I made it about 20 minutes before I just had to go lay down.

The therapist left at 6 and then all hell broke loose. I started cramping very badly and ended up throwing up shortly after 6 O'clock. To be honest, I was relieved. Whenever I get an intestinal bowel obstruction, I always feel better when I throw up. Sometimes it only takes once for relief :)

This time it took 16 times.

I'm not kidding.

You know how I counted? Because I vomited every single hour on the hour between 6 PM and 7 AM and threw up several more times before noon.

By Saturday at noon, I was a wreck. I was in so much pain and so sick and there was nothing left to do. I couldn't even keep water or juice down. I called my GI doctor on call and they advised me to go to the ER because I was probably dehydrated.

So, my dear husband and two kids packed me up (throw up bowl and all) and took me to the hospital.

Now, I've been to the hospital a billion times with this stuff. I know the drill. I have to say that this was the BEST experience ever in an ER. They had me back in Triage within 10 minutes. I only had to tell one person my medical history before everyone (nurses, doctors, lab people) knew it. The triage nurse gave my kids their own hospital allergy bracelets and answered all of Jayce's many questions about all the medical equipment.

I was taken back and given IV fluids, then Zophran, then Morphine for the pain. Brian took the kids home and my mom came to stay with me.

The Physician's Assistant that came in called my GI doctor right away, even though he was affiliated with a neighboring hospital. This meant so much to me. He recommended me NOT getting an NG tube this time (thank goodness!) because there was nothing left to pump from my stomach. They ended up doing an ultrasound on my colon and both decided that the obstruction would pass on its own. I was released with pain and nausea meds 6 hours later.

I'm not gonna lie, yesterday was rough. The pain and nausea meds made me even sicker. I still couldn't eat anything. And to top it off, we had Jaina's 9th birthday party last night.

A HUGE thank you to all my friends that helped out at her party! It was a success and I didn't even do anything except sit! My friend Monica took photos for me so I'll be sure to post those soon.

I'm doing so much better today. I've had some rice, toast, crackers, and soup broth. The pain and the nausea has passed, now I just need to build my strength back up.

Thanks for all your well-wishes on my FB wall :) It means so much to me that all my internet friends are keeping me in their thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ugly Doll Shirts

(all photos taken with canon powershot)

My dear daughter and son like to come up with pretty original birthday party themes. Although one year we did Barbie Mermadia, that is not the norm. No, instead we have Knuffle Bunny Parties and Pigeon Parties and Robin Parties (not Batman, Robin specifically) and Monkey parties and Nature Hunt Forest Parties.

This year Jayce had Super Mario Brothers, but I couldn't find plates or napkins or decorations in the stores. They had them online but I procrastinated and didn't get them ordered. So all he had were Mario cupcakes, thanks to CFMama and her inspiration :)

Well, Jaina's birthday is coming up. I naturally assumed she wanted a Hello Kitty party since she has loved Hello Kitty since last year. Already looked for all the stuff and found it at Target :)

But that's not what she wants. Oh, no... she wants an Ugly Doll Party.

Thankfully, there were two websites that were very helpful in coming up with ideas: Stuff and Nonsense and Bunnycakes

Just goes to show you that you can find anything on the internet!

We've invited 14 guests plus my two and I just couldn't afford to buy everyone a $7.99 keychain from The Ugly Doll Online Store.

I also despise goody bags filled with crap. You know, plastic junk that you end up just throwing away.

I thought about just doing candy but I have several friends that actually care about their children's candy intake. We don't really need to add to it.

My friend Patty helped me come up with our Ugly Doll Shirts.

These are just four designs. I tried hard to change up the color and the design on each shirt to make it original. We also have 3 different sizes to accommodate all of our guests.

This was my first time working with inkjet printer iron-on transfers and I can happily say I only screwed up one!! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lego Ninjas

My kids (and husband) have just recently started playing with legos while I'm out at Book Club or a photo shoot. Its their "thing" to do together.

And Jaina has discovered that she can pretty much con Brian into buying a new set or two while we are grocery shopping on Sunday. That dad spoils his princess rotten!

The newest sets they acquired are from a Ninja line.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


"Yes, of course!"

"Sure, I can do that!"

"Well, um, I can try..."

"I can't that day, but I can totally help you the next!"


It appears that I do not like saying the word, "No."

Unless its to my kids, then I have no problem with the word "no".

"I said NO!"
"Not right now."
"Not gonna happen."
"Sorry, babe. Nope."
"Did you hear mommy say no? Cause it hasn't changed."


But for my friends and family? The answer is usually "yes" even when my heart and brain are screaming "Just say no!"

I've done it again. I've said "Yes" to too many things and my life has been crazy the past 4 months.

"Can you take a support parent case even though you are on a leave from Family Connection?"

"Can you bring dinner to a mom that you don't know well who has had a baby?"
(well, I guess so...)

"Can you help me throw a baby shower on your daughter's birthday weekend?"
(Um, let me try to schedule her birthday party for a time that doesn't conflict...)

"I know you are booked up with photography sessions, but can you squeeze in my family at 7 PM on Mother's Day?"
(How can I say no? It was the only time her whole family would be there!)

"Hi, my daycare spot suddenly disappeared and I need someone to keep my 3 month old in addition to the 5 month old you are already keeping"
(Uh... can we do a trial period?)

"Hi Jessie? This is Family Connection calling to see if you can complete your training and "come back with us" before June?"
(Um... can I let you know?)

"We'd love to have you over for a playdate! We only live 30 minutes from you and can only get together during your son's therapy time. The therapist can just come, too, right?"
(I guess so...)

I am sure there are even more that I'm not thinking of right now. But you get the picture.

Its gotten to the point that I am going to have to say "NO" in order to save my sanity.

So, wish me luck. But I'm going to learn to say "NO" to the things that I don't want to do so I can say "YES" to all the things that are important to me.

(I don't even have any recent photos of MY kids to post! That's how busy I've been!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's day.

My kids and husband spoiled me rotten :)

For the first time ever, I managed to get cards to both my stepmom and mom in time, too!

I even got a surprise gift from my husband, too!

I hope all of your Mother's Days were wonderful as well!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Cinco De Mayo

Holidays are meant to be celebrated 'round here. Even if Cinco De Mayo is not technically "Mexican Independence Day" like I mistakenly told my kids when they asked.

Jaina wanted to know why they had school on Cinco De Mayo :) If it were up to her, even Secretary's Day would deserve a day off from school.

We learned our lesson the hard way last year when we tried to go out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant for May 5th, 2010. Did I say restaurant? I mean restaurants. Like, as in three. Three restaurants with lines out the door and over an hour waiting list.

If I remember correctly, we ended up eating dinner at Del Taco at 8:30 that night. We were one of two groups of customers in the entire place.

Unknowingly, we had just made Del Taco our "Cinco De Mayo" tradition. However, this year, they were prepared to celebrate this Mexican day of culture and heritage with free samples, meal deals, and balloons.

The kids promptly drew smiley faces on their balloons with permanent marker and aptly named them "Bob" and "Freddy". Oh... that would be "Bob II" and "Freddy II". The other balloons were from Chad's birthday. Anyway...

The kids paraded around the yard singing a made-up Cinco De Mayo song that made absolutely no sense. You can't really blame Jaina; she's learning German in school, not Spanish.

Then Jaina decided to end the evening with letting her balloon go.

I know, I know....

Its environmentally irresponsible of us to have done this.

But it was just two balloons! And Jaina and Jayce have never experienced letting a balloon go (on purpose) and watching it float away. So, I allowed it. And said a prayer that the broken bits of balloon did not end up polluting a water source or choking a forest animal.

Jaina exclaimed, "This is the BEST holiday ever, mom!"

( I would agree, but I never did get my margarita yesterday.)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Before and After Blog Hop: Olivia

I'm finally carving some more time in learning the tricks and tools of photoshop, lightroom, and GIMP.

I have to admit, though, Photoshop still scares me. Badly. Even with watching simple tutorials on You Tube, I'm still scared to try anything for fear that I'll mess my photo up. I guess I just need to get over that!

So, for this photo, I used GIMP.


The first issue with this photo is the exposure. Although my camera's light meter "said" it was properly exposed, I know now when you are shooting newborns, you need to overexpose your image by a step or so in order to smooth out the red skin.

I actually brightened and sharpened the photo a bit in Picasa before heading over to GIMP.

Once in GIMP, I adjusted the color saturation towards cyan and away from red. Then I got brave and played with the curves a bit.

I still have a lot to learn, but I feel much more confident with the adjusting I know how to do now! :)