.

This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have a little boy who is getting ready to be a BIG brother! Our second IVF worked and we are expecting another boy in April 2015 ♥



Saturday, January 17, 2015

4,382 Days

4,382 days (or 12 years to be exact) ago is when Nick and I said "I Do" and never looked back. I remember that cold morning in 2003 like it was yesterday. It seems to have passed quickly yet slowly at the same time, certain years feeling longer than others. We have grown up together and become adults and parents together. I still get a little thrill out of surprising people when I tell them I got married at 16 and yes---we are still married!

In our 12 years together we have had countless cars, 6 pets, 3 homes, and 1 child (with one one the way!). We have been to 9 new countries, several funerals, weddings, and divorces. We have gotten our college degrees, good health, and gray hair. We have grown our retirement accounts, our credit scores, our waistlines and our hair. We have survived infertility, health scares, car accidents, and natural disasters. We haven't always agreed or been dealt the hand that we want yet somehow what we got was exactly what we needed.

My husband has grown into a sweet and caring husband and father. He cooks me breakfast, packs my lunch, and writes me love notes on a regular basis. He surprises me by cleaning the house and washing the dishes while I'm away. He tickles our son until he cries with laughter, then reads him a story and uses funny voices. He helps me put on my socks and shoes on when my baby belly gets in the way. He puts gas in my car and warms it up on cold mornings. He drives in strange places when we travel so that I can read the map. He listens to my work stories and pretends to know what I'm talking about. He cancels plans and stays home with me if I'm feeling down.

In our years together we have seen many friends and couples come and go. We always wonder who will stay and who will not. We easily see the mistakes that many newlyweds make yet we don't judge because we know that they have to learn to overcome hard times on their own. We try to treat others how we would like to be treated, and to raise our children to make the world a better place.

Yes we still enjoy spending quality time together but we also understand that sometimes we need our space! We trust each other implicitly and want each other to be happy. We can finish each others' sentences and communicate with just a look. There are countless inside jokes, nicknames, and secrets that we will take to our grave.

I hope all of the newlyweds out there are able to find the happiness and trust in their spouse that we have. A marriage is not 50/50---it's 100/100 and takes a lot of work but you reap what you sow and it is all worth it!

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

B.C. to A.D.


I sit here just 3 short months away from expecting my second child and I am amazed at how much can change in a few years. I'm not talking about the obvious "Gee now I have to plan my life around a human being" or things like that. I'm referring more to things I didn't expect to be so affected by becoming a mother, like friends, relationships, world views, and goals.
 
Let me start off by giving you my "story" in a nutshell: Before Children--My husband and I tried have a child for the first 5 years of our marriage. Although these were emotionally hard times, we also were able to find the positive in it and build our relationship as simply husband and wife. We grew up a little more, established goals, traveled, enjoyed friendships, bought a house (or two), and trusted in God that His plan was best. In 2008 we bit the bullet and took a chance on IVF. Thankfully it worked and in 2009 we welcomed our first son to the world. That brings us to After Delivery......

I think most people have heard that you lose friends when you have kids, but I bet most people think "this won't happen to me! My friends are great!" I was one of those people! I thought for sure my friends would understand and be flexible with my changing life. Although I don't feel like I personally changed much toward my friends, I definitely noticed a shift. Work buddies quit hanging out with me and inviting me to get-togethers. Other friends slowly reduced time and contact with me till it was nothing but the occasional email or text. Some of Nick's friends quit coming over or hanging out with him.

Going from a nonparent to a parent changes your perspective. You now have another person who is affected by almost every choice you make from here on. How you drive, where you live, vacations, schools, what you cook, where you work, how much you work, what holidays you celebrate....the list never ends! After about a year or two as a mom it really hit me that soon my son will have lasting memories of this time in his life. Let that sink in.....little things that I say or do with him could potentially be a moment that is etched FOREVER in his mind. Something I may not think is important could mean the world to him.

BC our lives were pretty mundane. We did fun stuff here and there but for the most part each evening was the same--cook dinner, chit chat, and watch TV until bedtime. Yeah it's a blast to be able to stay in your PJs all day but after awhile that can get old! We were ready for something MORE.

Another unexpected thing that came AD was all of the OPINIONS--from other moms, friends, strangers, family....anyone who thought you looked stressed/lost/scared did not hesitate to share with you what they thought about what you were doing and how you were doing it. I developed a thick skin to this after about 6 months and learned to ignore most of the unsolicited advice. Now that I'm expecting my second I don't worry about it at all because hey if I can successfully birth and raise a child once then I can do it again!

When Nick and I became parents we discovered a whole new level of choices to agree or disagree on. Thankfully we both see eye to eye with 95% of parenting issues so there hasn't been much arguing on that part. These are all things you don't think twice about BC. What kind of toys are you going to get your kids at each age---educational toys or Disney themed toys? How much TV will they watch? Whole day or half day PreK or Kindergarten? Will they drink water, juice, watered-down juice, pop, white milk, chocolate milk, etc. Are you going to be strict about what they eat or just be happy if they eat anything? Are you going to let them learn things independently or hover over and control as much as you can? Are you going to get them an iPad when they are 5 or let them play with regular toys? How will you react if they throw a tantrum, say a bad word, or hit? Will you spank or do time out? The two words that describe our parenting style best is OLD FASHIONED. We both feel very strongly that the next generation needs to rewind to the simpler times with good morals and strong parents.

When we see other parents out there who still party, drink, and continue to do irresponsible things we are saddened for the child who is missing out on having a great parent that puts them first and values their influence. If you are going to play house and have a child then you need to put your adult undies on and act like a parent--not like a frat boy.

As for us, our marriage and relationship has grown a million times stronger as we have bonded more over the last few years together with all that we have overcome. We now have the confidence and know that not only can we survive, but we can do a darn good job at this parenting thing. Our priorities have been adjusted, our friends have changed, and our rules are strict but that is what makes us who we are and we can't wait to see what else life has in store.


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting Ready...

...for the third trimester that is! Time is flying by of course so I sat down to finally make a list of questions I would like to ask my OB within the next couple of months. With my first pregnancy I was just so darn happy, excited, and scared that I went along for the ride on everything and didn't really ask any questions. With this one I have educated myself more on all of the options that are out there that may help my labor and be good for the baby. I have a different doctor this time around so some of these questions are also for my peace of mind because I am a planner and it eases my anxiety to know ahead of time what to expect.
 
 

1. How friendly is my hospital with patients using a doula? I have toyed with the idea of using one for awhile mainly because my last labor/delivery was so long and difficult. I was induced at 3 days past due and was at the mercy of my nurses and doctor to make my body advance even though it seemed to be fighting at every step. I feel like having a trained support person there to take the stress off of Nick and I would help things. Here is a link with more about doulas.

2. Is my doctor open to delaying the umbilical cord clamping? This is something I have been reading about and it makes a lot of sense to me. The cord naturally pulses as it circulates and filters the blood from the placenta back to baby. When the cord is clamped as soon as the baby is delivered, there is still a lot of blood left in the placenta. You can compare it to a patient on kidney dialysis being disconnected while the machine tubing is still full of their blood. The cord naturally begins clamping down when it is exposed to the air and the temperature change outside the womb. Here is a link that talks more about delayed cord clamping.

3. What is my doctor's stance on food intake during labor? Many doctors order an NPO (nothing by mouth) status for laboring women on the chance that they will be taken for an emergency C-section. With my last delivery I was in labor for 3 days so how would they expect you to have the energy to push a baby out? Some doctors are more lenient and will liquids or soft foods during early labor.

4. What can I expect if I want an epidural? Is there a "cut off" for getting one, like being dilated to a 7 or above? Will I have to have a catheter? How long will I expect to wait for the doctor to place one?

5. What is the hospital's policy for visitors? How many can I have in the room during delivery? What are visiting hours for during labor and postpartum?

6. What is my doctor's stance on an episiotomy? What can be done to help my body naturally stretch and prepare for delivery? Studies have shown that an episiotomy may be more harmful than letting the body naturally do it's own thing, and more doctors are steering away from always doing them.

7. How does my hospital handle circumcision if I choose it? Is it done the day of delivery, or the next day? Am I able to hold my baby during it, or at least be present? What method do they use, and what soothing techniques are there?

8. Will my doctor be able to estimate birth weight? My last baby was just under 9lbs, past due, and did NOT want to come out. Even after being fully dilated we had so much trouble getting him down the birth canal. I feel that this was partly due to his size (and me being a first-timer) so if my next one looks to be around the same size that may affect decisions I make regarding induction.

9. When should I take a tour of the L/D area? I will feel much more comfortable after seeing in person where I need to check in, what the rooms look like, the accommodations, how the process of admission/discharge works, and what the rules are.

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These are the main questions I have come up with so far! I'm not one of those moms who is dead set on a certain birth plan and no one dare stand in my way--I just like to know what my options are and how I can make this strenuous time a little less chaotic.

Hopefully these questions have helped you out if you are expecting also, or at least gotten you thinking about options you didn't know you had! My 6 month check up is on Tuesday so I still have some time to figure things out, but I will be sure to write about what the answers were to my questions.

In other news, today I got a great deal on a gently used Rock n' Play sleeper!! I think this will be perfect for keeping downstairs, plus it folds up easily and is portable to take with us to the grandparents' so baby will have somewhere safe to sleep. Here is pic of what a new one looks like:



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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Post of 2014!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great one and got to spend it with family. Here is our family pic for the year!



Brad got a lot of great presents and enjoyed playing with his new toys all morning.

I was inspired shortly after Christmas to go ahead and get the boys' room rearranged to accommodate a new resident! I made one side Brad's and one side Jacob's, with their dressers coming out from the wall to divide the room for privacy. I also took down the rest of Brad's old safari theme decorations and put up all of his new robot pictures!

We finally got a dresser for Jacob to also be used as a changing table. I had been looking for a decent used one online but they were always in bad shape, the wrong size, or too pricey. On our pre-Christmas roadtrip to Ikea I found the perfect one! Nick was able to put it together lickety-split with no trouble and it looks great!!




  



 So far Brad loves his new "big boy" room and is super excited about sharing it with Jacob. I still have to get rid of a couple things and find a crib, but for the most part the room is ready.

As far as Jacob is going, he is getting bigger each day! His movement and kicks are strong enough to see and feel from outside and maneuvering around is getting a little tricky sometimes. I am now 6 months along and will be doing a test at my checkup next week to check for gestational diabetes. According to my scale I have only gained 11lb so far (!!!!) and should expect to gain about a pound per week from now on. Only 15 more weeks to go until I get to hold this little baby!!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Democracy in Action


Evidently I haven't posted in over 2 weeks?! I apologize for my absence. I have been internally struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed this month. I am more than halfway thru my pregnancy and I KNOW that it will be over before I realize. There is much more preparation work that I want to do this time around but I feel like I can't focus on ANY of that until the holidays are over and behind me. I am taking it one day at a time until January then I can get busy!

I am happy to say that I am ready for Christmas! I have all of my shopping AND wrapping done, and the presents are waiting patiently underneath the tree for Christmas morning. All of my yummy treats are baked and my out-of-town relatives have been shipped a box of goodies. My cards are sent, the firewood is stacked and ready, and my pantry is full of food waiting to be cooked! Now it is time to sit back and enjoy the festivities before they are over in a flash and it is 2015.

Something else we have been busy doing is new to this blog...I haven't spoken about it publicly because I wanted to get it resolved and over with. Let me share the story that inspired the title of this blog....

Do you recall that we bought our vintage camper in April? Well in around August/September we received a certified letter from a lawyer here in Norman saying that he represented our neighbor (who has never spoken to us in the 8 years we lived here) and that we were in violation of the neighborhood "covenants" by storing the camper in our driveway. He included a copy of these covenants and warned that if we did not comply then we would have a lawsuit against us.

We were absolutely stunned--first by the nerve of this hateful person who would rather hire a lawyer and sue his neighbor than to come over and knock on our door, and second by how we were deceived by our realtor who never disclosed these covenants to us. We had asked specifically when we bought our house in 2006 if there was an HOA, and they said there was not. Well no technically there is not an association but these covenants (that were started in 1977) are still on the records and are enforceable by the homeowners in this addition.
 
To get him off our back while we figured out what to do, we moved our camper to my dad's land for temporary storage. Then in November we got another certified letter from this same lawyer stating that we were still in violation because our trash cans were being stored on the side of our house, and he included a picture of our trash cans as "Exhibit A". He warned this was our last notice and if we did not comply then he was authorized to file a lawsuit.

We got in touch with a real estate lawyer for his legal advice to see if we could go against our realtor for anything and in the end it would not have been worth it to file a lawsuit. As for our neighbor, we had a plan of our own.....
 
Nick and I read the several pages of covenants and found at the end that it said they could be modified in whole or in part by a majority of the homeowners. I immediately got the idea to write a petition to modify several of the pertinent covenants and go door to door for signatures. I did my research and printed a list of the 69 addresses included in my addition with the homeowner name and what year they bought their house. I then typed up the proposed changes that we wanted to make to the covenants and Nick and I set out knocking on doors to spread our message and get signatures.

It took a few weeks due to the changing weather and holidays but we finished up on Saturday and got more than the majority of signatures that we needed! In total we got 51 signatures, and most of our other neighbors had no idea about these covenants either. Yesterday we went to our county clerk's office to notarize our paperwork and file it with the county. It is now officially changed and I will hand out a letter thanking each person who signed to support it.

We are going to my dad's tomorrow morning to pick up our camper and bring it back home!! I won't be surprised if we get another letter from the lawyer but if we do, I will send my OWN letter to him stating that the covenants have been modified and if we hear from him again then we will file harassment charges. I am also not against getting the local news involved......

Don't mess with the bull or you'll get the horns :)

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Time Fun

Happy December! We have been enjoying the festivity in the air. Our Christmas lights went up the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I have the inside all fancied up. The only thing we don't have is our tree. We usually get a fresh tree sometime during the first week of December, so we will probably go find one this weekend.

On Tuesday they had a family Christmas party at my work with Santa, cookies, hot cocoa, and face painting. Brad loved and got a great picture with Santa!






Today was a family night at our local museum so I invited my brother and his son to go with me and Brad to check out the dinosaurs. The boys had a fun time running around and checking out the exhibits.




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Sunday, November 30, 2014

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies!


I found this recipe in my cookbook and I have no idea where I got it from. I have been wanting to make cookies but everything takes a ton of butter, and butter is one thing that I am super stingy with right now. This recipe calls for NO butter so I decided to give it a shot!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix
1c PB
1/2c oil
2tbs water
2 eggs
1/2 bag milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat 350, mix all ingredients except chocolate chips until well blended. Fold in chips then place by spoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 min until golden brown, then remove and cool on rack.
 
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I was curious how these would turn out with a cake mix but they turned out fabulous! You would never guess the ingredients just by looking at them or eating one. I changed the recipe a bit by adding the chocolate chips and I am happy that I did that. The peanut butter flavor is pretty subtle and not overpowering. I highly recommend this! These are ingredients that you usually have in the pantry so go make some!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

5 Months and HALFWAY Along!

On Tuesday I hit the 20 week mark! Only 20 more weeks to go until I can hold this new little baby in my arms and kiss his furry head :) Hopefully he won't make me wait a few extra days like his big brother did.

2 weeks ago (the same day as the gender reveal party) we had our Level II ultrasound, so here are some pics from that day.....





I can definitely tell my belly is getting bigger and more people are noticing the "bump" now. Thank God for maternity clothes! They are so comfy. I still haven't broken down and gotten maternity jeans...I've been squeaking by with stretchy pants and my homemade belly band for my old jeans. I'm sure I'll cave soon with the cold weather coming in.

Here are some belly pics for you guys!


I am proud to say that I have only gained 6lb of pregnancy weight so far! I am ignoring the fact that I had gained 4lb of IVF-medication weight the week before.....Ha! According the internets, I should expect to gain about a pound per week from now until delivery. Doesn't that sound fun??

As for pregnancy related symptoms, I have none! I feel great and seem to finally be sleeping better. My sinuses have gone haywire but I think part of that is my usual autumn allergies. I remember having exaggerated allergies with my last one too. I feel a bit overwhelmed with already being halfway and with the stress of the holidays upon me. There is a lot of prep work I want to have done soon but I can't really do anything with Thanksgiving and Christmas taking up my time and energy. I think in January when things calm down I am going to jump in with both feet so that I have nothing that needs to be done when the baby comes.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Thanksgiving with your family! I am cooking a few dishes and we are all going to my mom's tonight for her dinner at 5pm, then I am cooking a big dinner of my own tomorrow for us and my dad is going to join us for that. This weekend will be full of taking down the turkey stuff and putting up the Christmas stuff!


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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The BIG Gender Reveal!

Let me start off by saying that almost everyone thought we were having a girl! On my poll here 66% of voters were for PINK, and at our gender reveal party Thursday evening there was a lot of pink shirts!

Thursday morning was our 4 month checkup and level II ultrasound. Brad went with us because he was VERY excited to see a live ultrasound, but we told the tech we didn't want him to hear the result. She wrote it on a piece of paper for us, so for the rest of the day Nick and I were the only ones who knew!

That evening we had a big gender reveal party for our close friends and family! Everyone was really excited and very anxious to find out the results. I invited everyone to wear the color of their guess, and there was a majority of pink! I of course wore blue because I preferred a boy :) I had blue food and pink food, and our big reveal was a black balloon with colored confetti in it. After everyone made a plate, we got the party started!




 ^Nick's best friend Terry and his girlfriend Meghan

 ^Me and my mumsy

 ^My SIL Sarah and my MIL Penny

 ^Me and my dad



Everyone counted down from 10, and Nick wielded a very large knife to pop the mystery balloon.....



BLUE!!
 
 ^Cupcakes that my SIL Amy made for her guess. She chose wisely!

 ^Brad and his cousin Zoe

 ^Brad eating a reveal cupcake that I made


In the middle of running around to stores for the final party preparations, I organized a quick photo shoot with Brad to make our official gender reveal picture!! (Idea courtesy of Pinterest, of course). I posted this on Facebook during the party so it was a surprise to everyone at the same time!



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