Monday, February 21, 2011

a celebration of life.

our family recently celebrated life, in more ways than one.
my niece turned one.

i look at her and my heart skips a beat.


my grandmother turned 80.
she and i.
we are one in the same.


and we celebrated both of them.


my sister is a rockstar baker.
look at these owl cupcakes.
freakin adorable.


we had a just dance 2 competition.
kyle got gram on the dance floor.
she loves him.
anyone who will pay her extra attention.
they got her love.


family snaps.
quite possibly the most.stressful.thing.ever.
the whole extended fam.
gram and her daughters.
gram, her grandchildren and their spouses.
gram and her great-grandchildren.
the kids call her gigi.



kyle and my brother-in-law got gram soup for her birthday.
sort of an inside joke.
but gram is always complaining that all she gets to eat is soup.
she says she is sick of it.


did i mention my sister is a rockstar baker?
check out big owl.



olivia wasn't so sure of her cake at first.
picky princess, she is.


she had more fun feeding it to uncle kyle.


my baby cousin is going into the Air Force. 
i am so proud of him. 
he spent a lot of time with us over the past year.
my kids absolutely adore him.
he leaves for basic training in may.
apparently the thing to do when a soldier leaves is to toast him.
with a shot of liquor.

who knew.


and if you are my mother ... you buy whiskey.
toast him we did.


the only thing missing from this day was my grandfather.
although i know he was there in spirit.
he would not have missed it for nothing.

and to top the day off.
nigel grabbed a knee and proposed to his girlfriend.




it was so sweet.
i cried.


they make each other so happy.
and that makes me happy.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

It is hard.

I'm an emotional mess. I feel like it is not so much the chemical pregnancy ... but my hormones. Geesh. I really do feel like I am at peace with the fact that I am not pregnant. I think ... unless my mind is playing tricks on me. I am trying to have hope for the future ... hoping that God will move mountains and we will be able to try again. I can't not think like that.

I will be honest and just say I'm not in a great place right now. I know this. In hindsight ... I know the toll that this failed FET has taken on me has something to do with it. I find myself needing to focus. I feel like a robot. I am not happy with where I have allowed myself to get. And I'd like these damn hormones to leave my body.

I really have no idea why I am spewing this on my blog. I have never really been a private person, so why start now. This is all part of the journey. I am so incredibly blessed to have such amazing friends and family ... near and far ... those I have met and those I have only talked to. Their support of me over the years means more to me than words could ever describe. Whether we were struggling with Payton's diagnosis, going through an international adoption, struggling with infertility ... or any other significant thing.

But it is hard. It is hard because most people do not truly understand what you are going through when such significant events come knocking on your door. The words and the support are so very necessary ... yet, I find it hard to verbalize my true emotions to these very people because they really do not get it. I suppose they can try to empathize ... but that does not even come close to walking in the shoes. I find myself pulling away, to an extent, from these very people in order to protect my heart. I don't want to hear comments that upset me ... and while I know every single person means well, it is hard. I tend to keep in my comfort zone. When I struggle with Down syndrome and all that comes with it, I call my Down syndrome mommas ... because they get it. When I struggle with bonding and attachment, I call my adoption mommas ... because they get it. When I struggle with the emotions of infertility, I call my infertility mommas ... because they get it.

I struggle with this because I really do not want to push anyone away ... not at all. I need the support. Some calls and emails have not been returned. This is why. Perhaps it is wrong, but this is why. Each call, every email ... they are cherished in so many more ways than I can put into words. Please know this. But I need to protect my heart ... I understand it is guarded, but it is how it is for now. Much love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

so many reasons.

there are so many reasons why i wanted this to work.

this baby would have been payton's fraternal twin ... born six years later.
my beta was scheduled for today.
valentine's day.
today also happens to be my grandmother's 80th birthday.

i would have been due on october 21, 2011.
that is nika's birthday.
i was due with payton on mason's birthday.

i just really, honestly thought it was meant to be.

our baby tried.
it snuggled in.
seven days past transfer i got a positive result.


i was pregnant.
i was freakin ecstatic.

i had spent that entire morning sobbing thinking it hadn't worked.
and then i tested again, just this one time.
it was positive.
it was just payton and i at home.
i jumped up and down.
i sobbed tears of joy.
i told payton we were having a baby.
she jumped up and down.
and looked around for said baby.
she didn't understand ... but i'll never forget that moment.

we called daddy together.
he just laughed at me because i was freaking out and i could not stop crying.
he was so excited.

but then i continued to get only faint test results using other brands.
that scared me.

nine days past transfer i retested with another digital test.
the same brand from which i had received my positive.
big fat negative.
i sobbed.
and sobbed some more.

two days later.
i got another positive.
i was so confused.

it is isolating.
infertility is so freakin isolating.

today my nurse confirmed a negative test result.

i have lost this baby.
a chemical pregnancy.
guess that is what they call it.

i am gutted.
i really thought it was meant to be.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



When the Packers are in the superbowl ... we stay home. Granted this has not happened much over the years. But this year ... we exchanged party invitations for our couch. My sister, her husband and my mom came over ... Kyle said that was borderline too many people. I think he was just as nervous for the game as the players likely were.


Thank goodness the Packers won.


Because I'm not sure my husband's heart could have taken a loss.


And I'm pretty sure he cried when they won. Ain't that sweet?

Among many other healthy treats ... we indulged in some of my famous taco dip during the superbowl. My recipe is really basic ... but for some reason it is a hit everywhere I take it. My friends are often asking me for the recipe ... clearly none of them ever write it down. Leading into the superbowl, Linda asked me to make the recipe a tab on my blog ... freakin hilarious.

1. Get yourself some cream cheese, sour cream and Taco Bell taco seasoning. Yes ... it has to be this brand ... the others have funky stuff in them. Ha.


2. Mix one heaping spoonful of sour cream, one of cream cheese, half a packet of taco seasoning and a splash of milk. Whip it up and spread it on your platter. If you need more ... then just mix more. Genius, right?


3. Finely brown a pound of hamburger. Layer it on ... followed by a layer of lettuce and cheese. Add tomatoes if you must. Just know that is not part of my recipe. Because I cannot stand tomatoes.


4. Get yourself some tortilla chips and indulge. Easy peasy.


Yesterday started out as kind of a bum day for me. I think the hardest part of infertility treatment is the two week wait. I mean ... it is likely difficult for anyone that is trying to conceive, but there is something so final about big red coming when you are doing infertility treatments. You don't just get to try again next month.

Ahh ... it got the best of me yesterday morning. 

I really was not feeling confident in success. But one little miss by the name of Chicky did her part to cheer me up. She had an ENT appointment in the afternoon ... so she missed school. After her morning preschool ... I picked her up, we went to lunch, stopped by a craft store and hit up the doctor.


The doctor part didn't go so well. Payton needed to have some recurrent wax drainage cleaned out of her ear. The nurses and I were not strong enough to hold her down ... so they papoosed her. I freakin hate that.



And she screamed. And screamed. And fought ... as much as she could. And petechiae erupted all over her face. Instantly. Poor babe.



We lost Payton's speech therapist today ... this is the therapist she has been seeing over the past year or so. She is a PROMPT trained therapist and she has done amazing things with Payton since we found out she she has apraxia ... she has come so far, but still has so far to go. 

While we can easily find another therapist that is PROMPT trained ... it is really hard to find a therapist that has a great rapport with your child. We had that ... and now we lost it. It sucks ... but we wish her the best in her future endeavors.

And yes, I cried.


Happy day peeps ... 5 days til my beta. Keeping my fingers crossed.

PS ... it pays to help adoptive families ... I won a Canon Rebel T1i ... don't hate.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The rewards are grand.

Adoption. It's been on my mind lately.

{Addison came home from Russia in November 2008 ... read more about it here}

I'm sort of going out on a limb when I say this, but I have never been a fan of preaching adoption. There are some in this wonderful world of ours who believe that is it everyone's duty to adopt. I get that ... I get that the bible says that is what we should do.

{Sofia came home from Ukraine in June 2010 ... read more about it here}

Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~James 1:27

{Alina came home from Ukraine in April 2010 ... read more about it here}

And I'm really going out on a limb when I say this, but I also do not believe that everyone has what it takes to adopt. Yet, I do believe that everyone has what it takes to help protect an orphan.

{Evangeline came home from Ukraine in August 2009 ... read more about it here}

He blesses those who provide for the orphan. ~Deuteronomy 14:29

{Jacob came home from Ukraine in June 2009 ... read more about it here}

Adopting a child is a very exciting thing ... saving innocence from danger. Adopting a child is also a very rewarding thing ... but it is really hard too. Really hard. Once the excitement of the adoption wears off, you have a child on your hands. A child that you do not know ... and a child that does not know you.

{John David came home from Ukraine in November 2010 ... read more about it here}

My friend Leah said it well, as she waited to bring her son home ...

We don't expect that Axel is going to get off that plane, walk into our home and be a smiley, giggly boy who can hardly wait to get on with life. 

When parenting [step children], you do not love them right away, and they do not love you. Sometimes it takes years before you feel honest "love" toward them. You care about them! And you nurture them! But that is very different than a mother/child love bond, or a father/child love bond. It just really depends upon the chemistry between you and the child. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not. I think that people are surprised when they bring a child into their home and that bond is not automatic, or in their eyes takes way too long to develop. Sometimes you love the child long before the child loves you in return. Sometimes it is the other way around.

Part of the reason this bond is different is because an older child comes with other people's habits. You didn't get to develop these habits, and they can be very annoying to you as a parent. It can be very difficult to not blame the child for these habits that they had established since they were small and suddenly you want them to change and do things your way.

{Reese came home from Ukraine in March 2009 ... read more about it here}

Very wise words ... if I do say so myself. Eventually the hurdles fade into the past ... and a time comes that life isn't so much about bonding and attachment ... but simply living life. The rewards are grand and they only get so much sweeter.


These babies? They are waiting to come home. They are waiting to make life grand for their new family ... how can you help?

:: Dickinson family, adopting Masha ... iPad raffle ends 2.25.11

:: Smith family, adopting Yana ... donate here ... Giveaway ends 2.28.11

:: Cox family, adopting Kareen ... donate here ... iPad raffle ends 2.5.11

:: Patti, raising money for three orphans ... Pure Love giveaway ends 2.11.11

:: Senti family, adopting Ember ... donate here ... Gucci watch raffle ends 2.12.11

:: Valentine's Day fundraiser for Veronika ends 2.19.11

:: Filmore family, adopting Anya ... donate here {court date: 2.22.11}

:: Davis family, adopting Kirill ... donate here {court date: 3.17.11}

:: Higbie family, adopting Lera and ... donate here

:: Sader family, adopting Melanie ... donate here

:: Dirkes family, adopting Charlotte ... donate here

:: Maddex family, adopting Danil ... donate here

Adoptive families ... I know there are so many of you out there. If you would like to be included in this post, please email me at with your info.

PS ... isn't it funny that never once in this post did I mention Down syndrome? That was not intentional ... it just isn't relevant. Well, it is relevant in that the future of babes with Down syndrome in other countries is horrid. That is why we need to get them home. 

PPS ... and yeah, all of the beautiful babes in this post have Down syndrome. Oh, you already knew that? Ha.

Update: Adding in other great adoption fundraisers ... outside of the Down syndrome community ... 

:: Johnson family, adopting Kasidi ... Canon Rebel T1i raffle ends 2.7.11

:: Lori and family ... adopting Elijah and Isaiah ... gift card raffle ends 2.20.11

:: Hurley family ... adopting AJ and Jenna Elizabeth ... iPad raffle ends 3.5.11

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dr. Suess


On New Year's Eve ... we took the kids to see Ice! at the Gaylord Hotel, featuring How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess. Yeah ... I am a little behind on blogging ... perhaps Christmas photos are next.


Ice! is a custom ice exhibit that is made by artisans flown in from all over the world. It is freakin amazing ... and takes a whole lot of talent, that I would love to have.


The exhibit is kept at 9 degrees ... um yeah, it is cold. They give you these huge blue eskimo coats to wear over your own coat ... Nika waddled like a penguin and could barely walk.



The ice slides ... all three kids went down ... brr!





Outside the exhibit they have these carolers ... err, performers ... to set the holiday mood. Love that.


And this enormous Christmas tree made out of Peeps ... how cool is that?


We meandered over into the Gaylord ... that is one awesome hotel. This glass Christmas tree hung from the ceiling.


And right under the tree was a train for the kids ... big and little ... to ride. I snapped pictures ... "Guys, look at me!"


Oop ... not good enough for this perfectionist momma. Try again. By this time, I had snapped maybe 20 shots and still didn't get them all looking.

Do you think Mason was frustrated with me? Ha ... just look and smile, kid.


"Thank you all for at least looking in my direction!"


We really had a great day. I love taking time to do things like this with just our little family.