Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dear Nicholas (Your Birth Story)

A video is worth a thousand words.  I have nothing else to say.  Let's let the images tell the story.  :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (26 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You are 26 months old!  Today is Mommy's birthday!  Your brother will be here in exactly one month!  There are so many exciting things happening right now. 

You seem to be taking everything in stride, although that is probably because you have no idea what's about to happen. 

My sweet boy - I promise you that no matter what happens, you are always loved and you are always special. 

With so much love,


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (25 months old)

Dear Nathan,

Well, we made it through your 2nd birthday.  I think you enjoyed your train birthday party.  It was so much fun putting the whole thing together.

What are you up to these days?  Well, you love playing with my tablet.  You have several games on it that you love to play.  I never see you concentrate as much as you do when you play with that thing!  You are obsessed with Thomas the Train and Dinosaur Train on TV.  Luckily, they are both available on Netflix, so you can watch them whenever you want.  We do try to limit your screen time, though.  It's important to play with other things too.  You got a lot of trains for your birthday, so you've been having fun with those.

You went to the fair for the first time ever this month.  You loved the carousel and the bear ride.  You didn't want to leave the petting zoo area.  I can't wait until you are old enough to ride the "big rides" with me and your dad.  It will be a blast!

You are talking more and more.  We love seeing what you will say next.  That's all for now.  I'll leave you with this picture of you playing with my tablet.

All my love,


Thursday, October 02, 2014

An unexpected change

Motherhood changes a woman in so many ways.  Your body changes, your priorities change, even the way you want to spend your time changes.  I can't count how many ways I've changed in the last two years, mostly for the better, in my opinion.

But something happened recently that was very unexpected.  A change I didn't anticipate.

When I was 13 years old, I dyed my hair for the first time.  It was a magical moment!  I was no longer limited to the sandy brown (or dirty blonde, depending on who you were talking to) hair I was born with - I could be anything I wanted!  I started with a gorgeous golden blonde, moved toward platinum for awhile, then experimented with several other colors, including red and black.  Some were pretty, some were striking, but they were all interesting and fun and new.  And after all, it was just hair.  It would fade or grow out if I didn't like it.

For several years, I had settled into a pattern of going red in the fall, and then moving more toward a medium blonde shade in spring and summer.  Recently, it was time to go red again.  But when I stood in the hair color aisle, my toddler in the shopping cart seat, I looked at all the boxes of fun hair color, then back at my sweet boy's sandy brown hair and decided not to do it.

You see, my natural hair color matches his.  It's something I've always been surprised and happy about.  His dad has very dark brown hair, so we assumed he would follow suit.  Imagine my shock when he ended up looking more like me.  And I want to keep it that way, at least for awhile.  I put back the box of red and tousled his beautiful sandy brown locks.  I may get something to cover the two silver strands that popped up recently right above my forehead, but I don't think I'll be drastically changing the color anytime soon.  Because right now, we match.  :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Dear Nicholas (Third Trimester)

Dear Nicholas,

Hi there, little guy!  It's your mommy.  I know I haven't done these for you like I did for your brother before he was born and I'm sorry.  Blame him - he is keeping me very busy these days!  But know that I love you both and am very excited to meet you!

You are 28 weeks along right now.  That's the beginning of the last trimester of pregnancy.  You move around a lot now, especially after I've had something to eat or drink.  You're not getting the hiccups all the time like your brother did - thank you for that!  ;)  Pregnancy is a very different experience each time - I've heard this my entire life, but never realized quite what it meant until I got pregnant with you.  Even the process of getting pregnant was different, as we had to get some medical intervention to make it happen.  But we wanted you, and we were willing to do whatever we had to do to make sure we could have you.  When you get here, we will feel like our family is complete.  And that's something very special.

Let's see... what will you want to know later?  People always ask about cravings during pregnancy.  I have had a few very specific cravings with you - nothing strange, just really specific.  Like the day I really wanted ice cream.  It had to be vanilla with hot fudge sauce.  And about once a week, pasta is the word of the day.  Toward the beginning of the pregnancy, about three mornings a week I wanted a sausage, egg, and cheese croissant from Burger King.  The drive-through lady got to know me pretty well!  Now, I pretty much just want to eat everything anyone mentions.  So a coworker said "cheesecake" earlier today and now I really want some cheesecake!  It's a very interesting thing.

You like music, or at least you seem to.  I love to sing along to the radio or my iPod in the car and at work, and you really become active when I do that.  And the other night, when I was singing to big brother before bed and he started singing along, you liked that too.   You react to the dogs barking too - don't worry, they are not scary and you will love them.  Nathan already enjoys playing fetch with them and I know you will too.  I'm guessing each of you will develop a relationship with one of the dogs, so that one will become "yours."  Nathan seems to be really close to Kaylee right now, but we will see what happens after you get here.

We are looking forward to meeting you!  For now, just stay safe in there and keep growing.

All My Love,


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Red Shoes (and Nicholas)

I've had a couple of people ask me why I want to name Nicholas after a friend.  I guess maybe it does seem a little odd, unless you know the entire story.  Then you understand that she was (at least) indirectly responsible for our entire relationship.  Add that to her inspiring life, her faith, the way she unconditionally loved everyone she ever met, and the way she fought to the very end to live her life as fully and as completely as possible, I could think of nobody better to name my son after.  She affected my life in more ways than I can count, and I have taken on the responsibility of living a life that will reflect her legacy.  

But the story you want to hear is this one: The Story of The Red Shoes. 

I was feeling pretty unsure about things with Jon at first.  Not about how I felt about him - after meeting online and talking as long as we did before actually meeting, I knew he was someone I really wanted to get to know.  But I was really not sure how he felt about me.  He was so shy that he never even tried to hold my hand, so I was convinced he didn't like me.  I talked with Nicole about it because I knew she was great with people - she just seemed to have an insight about people and their feelings, even if they had never met - and she told me if I wasn't comfortable making the first move, I should just buy new shoes.  Red ones.  And wear them on a date.  She said something she often said "people remember red."  And she also reminded me that he wouldn't have been asking me out so much if he didn't like me.  Which, of course, made perfect sense, but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time!  

So I made a big deal of buying new shoes for our date.  I posted on Facebook that I was on a quest for the perfect shoes, and then when I bought them I said "I Found Them."  That night, Jon took me to see A Midsummer Nights Dream at Theatre 98.  He held my hand for the first time, helping me walk down the stairs during intermission.  We had a romantic walk on the beach after the play and then he took me home.  And he kissed me goodnight.  

I wasn't unsure anymore after that.  :)  I'm pretty sure that was the night I fell in love with him.  (awwwww... sappy)

When I asked Jon later why he kissed me that night, he said something along the lines of, "I knew you liked me because you bought new shoes for our date."  I think later when he saw how many pairs of shoes I had, he probably changed his mind on that, but nevertheless, Nicole's plan totally worked.  I remember calling her the next day to tell her about the goodnight kiss and she was so excited.  She said "red shoes work every time," and laughed that musical, infectious laugh that we all loved so much.

So even if it may have happened eventually, it happened that night because of the red shoes.  

I can't even wear them anymore because my feet are swollen, but I still have them.  I actually tried to squeeze my feet into them for Nicole's Celebration of Life service, but they were just too small.  I hope when Nicholas is born, my feet go back to their normal size so I can wear them again, but even if they don't, I will never get rid of them.  They mean too much to me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (Two Years Old)

First time holding you.  You were only a few hours old.
Dear Nathan,

Happy Birthday, little love!  It's hard to believe you are actually two years old today.  I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.  It will always be one of the happiest, one of the scariest, and one of the saddest days of my life.  Let me explain.

You were three weeks early.  We went to the doctor for a routine visit and they did an ultrasound to see how you were doing.  They discovered the amniotic fluid was dangerously low and that you would be in trouble if we let you stay inside me much longer.  We were told to take an hour to do what we needed to do and then get to the hospital.  Scary.  So scary that we didn't even tell anyone where we were going, except our parents and our employers.  I may have texted a friend or two, but nobody else knew.  We just wanted to make sure you were going to be okay before we had a bunch of people joining us at the hospital.  So we checked in and spent the night with an induction scheduled for the next day.  Unbeknownst to me, a good friend was also checking into the hospital for something far more serious.

The induction started in the morning and a couple of hours into labor, your dad discovered that our friend Nicole was diagnosed with cancer that very day.  He didn't tell me, because he was afraid I would get too upset.  I would find out later via an email that another friend sent to a group of us, letting us know in case we hadn't found out.  They still didn't know we were in the hospital too, but that was okay, since her diagnosis was so much more serious than mine and everyone needed to focus on her at that time.

11 hours after they induced, it was decided that we would do a c-section.  Your dad got into some scrubs and they got me ready for surgery.  You were born shortly after, and the first thing I saw was your hair.  They took you away pretty quickly, because you had fluid in your lungs and they wanted to fix that as soon as possible, so it was another two hours before I could see you again.  I got about 3 seconds with you and then had to wait 2 hours.  Those hours were long and brutal for me.  The waiting was the worst.

But then, they brought you to me and I held you in my arms and it was a feeling like no other.  One of the happiest moments of my life.  You were perfect.  The lung issue had resolved and you looked up at me with those gorgeous blue eyes and I knew you were so special and so amazing.

And I was right.  Because you are special and amazing.  Being your Mommy has been the most rewarding and amazing thing I've ever done.  My greatest role.  I'm not a perfect mother by any means, but I love you and I am in awe of you and I think that counts for a lot.  Even if I sometimes raise my voice when I'm frustrated or upset with something you did.

In your room a day before your birthday.
You have grown from a tiny baby into what I like to call a Gargantuan Toddler.  From a little infant to this small person who has desires, opinions, and sometimes demands.  You have preferences for food and entertainment.  You love your dogs and your family.  You think your dad is hilarious.  You run to me when you are hurt or when you just need to cry about something.  You are so smart and so fun to be with.

Last night, you kept trying to get one of the dogs to play with you.  It didn't look like you cared which one, as long as one of them did.  Unfortunately, they were not interested.  You ran into the living room, touched each one, then ran out.  Several times you tried this method and it never worked.  Then you spotted a toy that one of them had been playing with on the floor.  You nonchalantly walked up to it, making sure they didn't see you moving closer and closer.  You grabbed it off the floor, waved it in Kaylee's face, and ran down the hallway.  That got her attention, so she ran after you.  I've never heard such a loud and gleeful belly laugh in my entire life.  It struck me that you identified a problem, figured out a theory to solve the problem, and then experimented to see if your theory would work.  And it did.  It blows my mind that the tiny baby they pulled from my body two years ago could apply this kind of problem solving method only two years later.  You've come a long way, baby!  And you will continue to come a long way.  You will continue to grow and learn and become whoever it is you are going to become.  And I will continue to be in awe of you, and to love you more than my own life.  And I will be so proud to see the man you will be someday.  Watch your father for a great example.  And your grandpa.  Let those men be your guide for how you should grow up - with integrity and compassion and just enough crazy to make you an interesting person.

Mommy and Nicole
And now, for the reason why the day you were born will always be one of the saddest days for me.  Our friend who was diagnosed with cancer that day passed away last week.  She very nearly made it two years past her diagnosis.  I'm sure you have noticed that Mommy has been sad lately, and that's why.  I'm so glad you got a chance to meet Ms Nicole, and I plan to tell you and your brother all about her as much as I can, because she had a profound influence on my life and I want that influence to extend to you and to your brother.  You know how you are named after your dad and your Nana's family?  Nicolas is named after Nicole and your grandpa.  It was important to us that both of you had names that meant something to us.

I hope you are happy with your life so far.  If I had to guess, I would say you are.  You always seem to be very happy unless something is wrong - or you are not getting your way!  And even as you grow and even when you become an adult, just know that you will always be my baby.  And you can always run to me when you are hurt or when you just need to cry about something.

All my love,


Ovarian Cancer Awareness

My blog (and I) are wearing teal in honor of a beautiful and amazing person who was taken from us too soon.  My friend Nicole was one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  I often described her as "the most beautiful woman I've ever met in person, both inside and out."  Her story and some beautiful photos are here.  She was diagnosed two years ago today and passed away last week.  Her life, her light, and her testimony of her faith in Christ will live on in every single person who ever met her.  We will miss you Nicole - and I (as well as many others) will take carrying your legacy very seriously.  I will live my life with love, laughter, and singing, just like you did.  I look forward to seeing you again one day, my friend.  I love you.

Here are some links to more about Nicole and her story.

Legacy Photo Session
Bald is Beautiful Blog Post

Monday, September 15, 2014

50 Things That Make Me Smile/Laugh

Things that make me smile
  1. A job well done
  2. A great song on the radio
  3. A delicious meal
  4. My husband
  5. My son
  6. My mom
  7. My dad
  8. My niece, Hannah
  9. My nephew, Noah
  10. My nephew, Kohl
  11. My sister
  12. Knitting
  13. Completing a project
  14. Learning something new
  15. Singing with people
  16. Singing alone
  17. Feeling like I look great in what I'm wearing
  18. Looking a photos of Nathan
  19. Looking at our wedding photos
  20. Chocolate
  21. Cake
  22. Watching a good show on TV
  23. Writing
  24. Snuggling on the couch with the hubby
  25. Playing with the dogs
  26. Watching Kaylee and Simon play with each other
  27. Watching Nathan play with his toys
  28. Watching Jon play with Nathan
  29. Getting an answer right on Jeopardy
  30. My online birth club, The Pumpkin Patch
  31. Watching Jon do something he loves to do (painting, gardening, gaming, etc)
  32. Reading a great book
  33. Memories of my childhood
  34. Being outside on a pretty day
  35. Being inside on a rainy day
  36. Watching a movie with Jon
  37. Cuddling with the dogs
  38. Cuddling with Nathan
  39. Cuddling with Jon
  40. A hot shower
  41. Knowing I'm loved
  42. Friends
  43. Keeping up with people on Facebook
  44. Baby kicks
  45. Fall TV previews
  46. Whenever Jon tells a joke
  47. Watching Nathan grow up
  48. Being part of something important
  49. Gilmore Girls
  50. Showing love to others

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (23 Months Old)

Dear Nathan,

You are obsessed with trains.  Seriously obsessed.  I've never seen a kid love something so completely.  It's a single-minded obsession.  You love the show Dinosaur Train - not because of the dinosaurs, but because of the train.  You walk around the house saying choo-choo.  It is the most bizarre and interesting thing.

To feed your obsession and make sure you would have a really good time one Saturday, we took you to the train museum.  You didn't want to leave.  They have a small train outside, which you had to hug.  They also have a couple of real, full-sized train cars.  You loved those the best.

There's a room with model trains that you can just watch go around and around an entire little town with all the details.  Old-fashioned cars, little people going to church and sitting in restaurants, a circus, a drive-in movie theatre... just everything you can think of.  You watched the trains go around and around for probably an hour without really looking up.  I think you had a nice time.

You have continued to expand your vocabulary, sometimes saying words we wish you wouldn't have heard!  But mostly, you are just saying all kinds of useful and interesting things.  You love to laugh, and will take any opportunity to do so.  Even if you have no idea why other people are laughing, you will join in.  And it's the biggest, happiest laugh in the room.

Daddy is busy building you a bed for your birthday.  A Big Boy Bed.  I can't wait until you see it.  You're going to love it.

I love you, sweetie.

All my love,


Friday, July 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (22 months old)

Dear Nathan,

I'm going to steal some Facebook posts to share some special memories of this month with you.  

Nathan made me cry a little bit this morning. As I was leaving him with my mom so I could go to work, he waved and said " I love you." For the very first time. 
Of course, it sounded more like "I rub Jew," so maybe he was saying something completely different. 

And then this one:

Last night Jon asked Nathan if he wanted to hear his baby brother or sister's heart beating. He climbed up on the bed beside Jon and watched him as he got the doppler ready and put it down on my belly. When he could hear the heart beating, we told him it was his baby brother or sister, then he snatched the speaker out of Jon's hand and held it up to his ear like a cell phone and said "hi." I asked him if he wanted to say hi to his brother or sister and he grinned and said "hi boter." So I guess he thinks we're having a boy. It was seriously the cutest thing ever.

We found out the sex of your younger sibling this month.  It's another boy!  You'll have a baby brother soon.  I'm looking forward to seeing the two of you wrestle and play with each other.  You will be sharing a room for awhile, so hopefully you will get along well.  I want you to know that this baby will in no way take your place.  Nor will he take any of my love from you.  You will always be our sweet, funny, awesome Nathan.  The new baby will be someone else and we will love him too, but that will in no way take away from you.  I promise.

Love you, baby.

All my love,


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Influenster #VowVoxBox!

So I got another box from Influenster - a box filled with products for me to test and talk about.  What a neat program!  I seriously love it.  This one was for brides, wedding party members, and wedding guests.  I had indicated that I was going to be a guest/participant in a friend's wedding on my survey, so that's what qualified me, I suppose!  But really, these products are for everyone.

The box contained, Olay Regenerist Luminous, an EcoTools Pure Complexion facial sponge, a Tide To Go Stain remover, a Sally Hanson nail polish in a beautiful light blue, and Pure Silk shaving cream.  Great stuff!  I've tested each one and can say without a doubt that they are all fantastic.  The facial sponge gets my face so clean!  The Olay lotion has already started to make a difference in my skin - my face looks... brighter, I guess is the right word?  I've always loved Pure Silk shaving cream, so no problem there.  :)  The nail polish is so pretty and goes on very smoothly.  And my favorite thing in the box - the Tide to Go pen is something I try to keep with me all the time.  As someone who tends to drop food and get ink stains and other things on my clothes, the Tide To Go has saved my wardrobe many times!  

So thanks, Influenster and thanks to all these great brands to giving me the chance to test these products and talk about them!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's A...

We let Nathan announce the sex of the new baby to our family.  He cared more about the balloons than he did about the baby brother.  ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (21 months old)

Dear Nathan,

We've been busy!  You got to go fishing with your daddy and your grandpa!  And you got to play in your dragon pool.  And you had a great doctor's appointment, but that included a shot, so it wasn't so great, I guess.  :)

You are still our smiling, laughing, sweet boy.  I see no evidence of "terrible twos" appearing yet, thankfully.  I think we are going to be okay on that front.

The funniest part of this month was that you discovered you have a taste for dog food.  Yeah, kibble AND milk bones.  We are hoping this is a phase you grow out of.  It's really high-quality dog food, if that helps!  ;)

I have a few pictures from this month, so I'm going to go lighter on the text and heavier on the pictures this time.  Love you!

Hiding in the cabinets.

Playing in your pool.

Fishing with Nana, Grandpa, and Daddy.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (20 months old)

Dear Nathan,

Hi love!  You have had quite a month!  You are talking so much - you pretty much say whatever you want now.  Sentences, questions, all of that.  It's pretty amazing.  You got to make an announcement this month to everyone on Facebook.  I am pretty sure I already posted the photo here on this blog, but in case I didn't...

Big Brother!  You are going to be an amazing big brother.  I hope you teach your little sibling everything you know.  Well... maybe you can skip some of the things.  ;)  

Either way, life is going to change, but I think it's going to be for the better.  You will be so happy to have a constant playmate.  

A couple of big things that happened this month: you stopped using your high chair and started sitting at the big table with Mommy and Daddy.  You are still a little short for the table, but you manage just fine.  :)  

And also, you are obsessed with brushing your teeth.  You love it.  I'm not complaining at all here - I'm super glad you enjoy it, as I've heard from other parents that getting their kids to brush is quite a challenge.  But then, you are pretty "whatever man" about most things.  I haven't seen much that makes you fight.  Except putting on clothes.  You don't love clothes.  

You continue to make us laugh almost constantly.  Our cute, sweet, funny boy.

All my love,


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Influenster #MKGlam Voxbox

As a member of Influenster, I occasionally receive boxes in the mail with different products to try out.  And what fun I had with this one!  A box from Mary Kay filled with some fantastic summer makeup!  I actually used several of the products in my look for a friend's beach wedding shortly after receiving the box.  There were many wonderful products included - I think my favorites are the brushes that came with the box.  They are very high quality and super nice.  :)  The blush is a beautiful shade and is perfect for my skin tone.  I'm also loving the lip and eye colors!  Also included in the box was a catalog, which I am happily looking through now to see what I want to order.

And here's the look I created from this box's products!

Thanks, Influenster and Mary Kay!  This was a great box!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (19 months old)

Dear Nathan,

Goodness you are getting big!  And you are completely amazing, as usual.  Funny story from this month.  You became obsessed with playing with my wallet.  So I got a new one, filled the old one with expired driver's licenses, old insurance cards, and dummy credit cards from mail offers. I put it in my purse and let you take it out. You played with it for a loooong time with a super mischievous look on your face - like you got away with something.  It was seriously the cutest thing.  

We got you a bubble mower and you LOVE mowing the lawn with Daddy.  You'll be in the yard with him, close to the house while he is close to the street, pushing your mower right along with him.  You also pulled it around with you quite a bit the last time you used it.  So much fun.  :)  

Every day, you grow and change.  It's amazing to watch.  We love you, little man.

All my love,


Monday, March 31, 2014

The end of treatment

We are not going back to the doctor.  I know it seems crazy to stop after only one month, but it's the decision we have made and I believe it was the right one.  There are a few reasons for this.

1. Bedside manner. He did not keep me informed about things I needed or wanted to know, such as my progesterone level after my very first blood test - I didn't know that until after I asked several times. And even then, he said it was 5 on cycle day 25, which indicated my ovulating was "lousy." When I asked for more detail, he didn't give it to me. And then he gave me some really basic details about how everything works in a really condescending tone, as if I hadn't done any research and didn't realize how pregnancy occurs.  AND when he asked me about my c-section, he interrupted me two seconds into my answer and then never came back to it.

2. He really made me angry by telling me how old I was repeatedly in what I believe was a high-pressure tactic designed to get me to do IUI on the first cycle of Clomid, 

3. The treatment was too much pressure for us and was affecting our relationship 

4. The expense of it is just way too high. 

5. The treatment and monitoring was awful.  Medication side effects, transvaginal ultrasounds twice a month, the pain those caused... I don't want it badly enough to put myself through all that right now.  I may change my mind one day, and I still have a few years before this is a dire situation, so for now I'm saying "that's enough."

6. We already have a child and don't need to struggle for another one. So we decided that if it happens, it happens and if it doesn't, we have a beautiful sweet boy and our family is complete.

So even though the sun is setting on this phase of our lives, I am hopeful.  Hopeful that things will work out they way they are supposed to, not the way I try to force them to.  I've decided to give the entire situation to God and say "if you want us to have another child, you're going to have to make that happen," and for now, I'm going to enjoy life and focus on what matters to me right now.  The family I have.  The son I love - who is quite enough to deal with at the moment anyway!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Positive OPK! Yay!

Yes, this is a positive!  So I should ovulate either tomorrow or the next day!  I've never had such a dark positive before.  So all the times I thought I was ovulating, I guess I really wasn't.  The doctor did say my progesterone last cycle was 5 on CD 25 of my last cycle, which is, as he put it, "lousy."  So there's that.  But look at this test!  The top one is from yesterday and the bottom one is from this afternoon.  There can be no doubt about this result.  I'm super excited to see this.  It means something is going right after all.  :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Follicles, CM, and Ovulation - Oh My! (CD 15)

Appointment this morning sucked.  He found two follicles, one was 14 and one was 16. He said they were not as big as he would like, so he wants to look at them again tomorrow. But the big problem was the CM. He looked at it under a microscope and said the sperm were just sitting there, not able to move at all. It's too thick. And at this point, he said there isn't really anything we can do to make it thin enough to make it count for this cycle, as I should ovulate really soon. He wants to do an IUI. - in two days. I'm going to be honest - I'm having a panic attack about this. We were going to do three medicated cycles before talking about any kind of procedure, and now I'm scared to do that because he said time was not on our side.
And add to that the fact that he said my left ovary is actually stuck under my uterus. He had a really hard time finding it on ultrasound because it wasn't where it was supposed to be. Scar tissue from the c-section, probably.

It is difficult for me to explain just how much I hate this.  The ultrasound was very painful, for some reason.  Probably because he was searching in there for the missing ovary for such a long time.  He asked me a question about my c-section (whether or not it was rushed) and then cut me off before I could answer him.  We never got back to that subject.  I'm beginning to feel like maybe this is not the doctor for us.  Another thing is, he kept doing the ultrasound when the nurse left the room to prepare the slide of CM so he could check out the sperm.  I was very uncomfortable with it just being me and him in the room without anyone else there.

Rather than going straight for IUI without any preparation time, we have decided to wait and see if anything happens this cycle.  I did a bunch of research and found that drinking lots of water, avoiding dairy and limiting caffeine can help thin CM, so I did that all day and it really did seem to help!  I'm not putting a huge amount of faith in this cycle, but I'm not giving up hope yet either.
This afternoon, I had a faint line on my OPK.  I'm hoping this means I'll have a very good line by tomorrow.  If I can get a positive result tomorrow, that means I'll ovulate either Wednesday or Thursday.  That gives me a few more days to hopefully sort out the CM problem.

So not the best appointment and I'm still a little iffy about this doctor because of it, but there's still hope.  There were two good follicles and a few more that were too small - that means the Clomid did work.  Now it's up to timing and God.  Please, God - let this happen so that I don't have to go through any more of this.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (18 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You gave us a scare this month with the head CT and all the nervousness and fear that went with it!  But all was well in the end and you are just going to have a big head like your daddy.  :)  I'm so sorry we had to put you through that.  I know it had to be scary for you too, and I never want you to be scared or worried or sad.

You continue to be the sweetest and most amazing child in the history of the world.  Not that I'm biased or anything.  One sweet moment from this month - you started reaching up and twirling a lock of my hair around your finger as you were going to sleep.  It is truly the sweetest thing.

Your eyes haven't changed color yet - I'm thinking they are probably not going to.  Either way I would have been happy, but it's nice to know those gorgeous blues will be with us at least for awhile longer, if not forever.  You are still growing and developing exactly as you should.

Daddy and I love you very much.

With all my heart,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Clomid Cycle #1

It's my first cycle of Clomid.  I have two days left to take it.  2 out of 5.  I hope it is working.  The Metformin still isn't giving me any terrible side effects, thank God.  I have had a few odd side effects from the Clomid (hot flashes and being very emotional for no reason once) but other than that it has been okay.  I guess side effects are good - maybe they mean the medicine is working?  Fingers crossed for a good, strong ovulation this month!  :)

We're only doing three cycles this way.  If I'm ovulating using the medication and am still not pregnant at the end of three cycles, we are going to "look into other options."  For us, that pretty much means we are finished.  There is no way we can afford any of the other options.  :(  So you can see that there is a lot hinging on these next three months.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I'm seeing that there are visitors.  Who are you?  What do you think of my humble little blog?  I would love to hear from you!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cycle Day 1: Let's DO This.

Today is the day.  Cycle Day 1.  I will be calling tomorrow morning to make the Cycle Day 5 ultrasound appointment.  That will be Friday.  Good grief, this happened quickly!  It actually came several days early, which I am totally okay with, because I wanted to get this party started.  ;)

I started on the Metformin on Saturday evening and have not experienced any alarming side effects.  In fact, the only thing I have noticed so far is that I'm super thirsty.  That's actually a good thing, since I'm so terrible about drinking enough water, so I'm just keeping a cup of water by me at all times, just like I did when I was pregnant.

Clomid starts at Cycle Day 5.  Mucinex starts after that - I think it's Day 10 or something.  I bought some new prenatal vitamins to take too - a different kind than I had been taking.  Hopefully all of this will make a difference.

Things have been so stressful lately, it's no wonder my body is all out of sorts.  Trying and failing every single month, work stress, family stress, all the stuff with Nathan's head CT... it's enough to make anybody's body just say "stop."  I'm really hoping and praying that this will give me the jump start I need to get pregnant.

I'm going back to temping this month - just to see what happens.  I may just have to post my charts here.

Most of what I'm doing here is so that hopefully if someone else is going through this, she can read and see what is happening with someone else.  But also, to have a record of this journey.  If we are able to successfully get pregnant and have a baby from this, he or she may want to hear the story of their creation at some point.  Not the graphic details, of course, but what we went through to make it happen.  And if it is a daughter and she happens to have the same issues, maybe my experience can give her some insight.

Or maybe nobody but me will ever read this.  And that's okay too.  :)

Friday, March 07, 2014

Medicated Cycle #1: The beginning

So here's the verdict.  I'm not ovulating.  I got the call from the doctor's office today.  The nurse didn't tell me my progesterone level, but she did say it was negative for ovulation and that the doctor's plan of attack included three medications: Metformin, Clomifene, and Mucinex.  I'll be picking up the medications tomorrow morning and will be starting the Metformin that evening.  It appears that he is suspecting PCOS, which makes perfect sense when I read all the symptoms and indicators.  Who knew, right?  I don't know for sure, but I'm betting that's what's going on, especially with the Metformin on board.  So we're starting our first medicated cycle in about a week, whenever Day 1 happens to be.  On Day 5, I will start the Clomifene, which is basically Clomid.  Also on Day 5 or 6, he wants to do an ultrasound.  Hopefully we can see what's going on in there.  Because I believe in full disclosure so that maybe someone else can benefit from my experience, I'll be documenting this journey here.  Hopefully it will be a very, very short one.  

After 9 months of trying without success, knowing why we have not been successful is a relief.  But it is also frustrating.  I should have contacted the doctor sooner.  They say six months if you are over 35, but I wanted to wait.  I could already be pregnant by now!  But everything happens in the time it is supposed to happen, and I'm not going to question it too much.  For now, we have a plan and that gives me hope.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Just A Big Head

He's fine.  Nothing but an oversized noggin.  I talked to the nurse this morning and she said there was absolutely nothing to worry about.  Thank God.  :)

Progesterone Test

I hate needles.  Pretty much more than anything in the world.  But this morning I willingly went in to get punctured for a progesterone test.  This is supposed to tell the fertility specialist if I ovulated this month.  Which is great to know, but if it turns out that I did and I'm still not pregnant, what exactly do we get from this insight?  Oh right, more testing.  I'm most nervous about the next step.  If the test shows I did ovulate, he mentioned checking my tubes for blockages, which means a hysterosalpingogram.  Everything I've read about these makes them sound painful, uncomfortable and expensive.  And with all of this not being covered by our insurance, I really don't know about spending so much money.  The bright side of today - usually people have a really hard time sticking me.  It takes forever and they bruise my arms until I look like a heroin addict.   But not this lady.  She popped the needle right in there and was like "hey, we are done."  Not even a bruise on this arm!  Just a tiny red dot where the needle went in.

Results tomorrow.  I'm not sure if I'm hoping for ovulated or did not ovulate at this point.  Did not ovulate would certainly be easier to fix.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Head Circumference

Nathan has to have a head CT tomorrow because the doctor said his head circumference jumped from the 75th percentile to the 97th percentile.  She also said his weight was going up too quickly.  Maybe those things indicate... um.. I don't know... growth?

I hope it's nothing. She said it was probably nothing.  But still - a head CT is nothing to play around with.  She said they were going to have to strap him down to do the test.  My poor little boy - he hates to be still.  He hates to lie down.  How is he going to handle this?

As a parent, you want to shield your child from all scary situations and protect them from harm.  But now we are going to put him through the scariest thing he's ever been through.  On purpose.  I'm having some guilt about it, but there's no way I wouldn't do it.  What if something is really wrong and we decided not to do the test?  If it was something that could be caught early and we didn't, I would truly never forgive myself.  Sometimes it just sucks to be an adult.

Monday, February 24, 2014


No official diagnosis yet, but the diagnosis on my lab sheet is pretty clear.  I knew it would be the case, but still, seeing it written out like that is kind of a shock.  I mean, it didn't take any time at all for us to conceive Nathan.  First month we tried!!  But this time, 9 cycles in and nothing but negative tests, I guess something happened between then and now.  Age is probably the biggest factor.  I'm almost back down to pre-pregnancy weight, so that shouldn't be an issue.  Or something bad happened during my c-section that we just don't know about.  That's the possibility that scares me the most.

I went to see a fertility specialist today.  Is it a "fertility specialist" or an "infertility specialist"?  I can't ever figure out which one it should be.  I guess it's both.  I spent the entire day completely nervous and anxious.  The only thing that kept me from going completely crazy with anxiety was knowing Jon and all the ladies from my October 2012 birth club "The Pumpkin Patch" were there with me in spirit.  Knowing some of the ladies had been through the exact same thing before really helped because they were able to reassure me and make me feel better about the upcoming appointment.

I had to fill out a ton of paperwork, and honestly remembering some of the stuff they asked about was difficult at that moment.  I really don't remember exactly when I had my tonsils out - I know it was like 12 years ago! When they took my blood pressure, it was high.  It's not normally high, but I was so anxious.  But there was really no reason to be nervous.  The staff members all were very welcoming and gentle.    The nurse who asked me the initial questions and took my vital signs was very pleasant and helped put me at ease.  We talked about the weather and seasonal allergies, and she asked about Nathan.  We talked about having a toddler for a few minutes.  Even though she didn't specifically say it, I could tell she was a mom, just by the way she talked about toddlers and they way they are.  That actually put me at ease a bit too, oddly enough.

So then she led me into a room and asked me to wait for a minute to see the doctor.  He was in very quickly, probably in a minute or two.  We sat down and talked together about a lot of things, previous history, history before having Nathan, what's been happening since I had him, any issues I may have been experiencing, all that.  He looked at my charts quickly and saw what cycle day I was on, and then asked if we had "taken advantage of the current fertile period" within the last 48 hours.  I thought that was a pretty funny way to refer to it.  When I said yes, he said "perfect, I can check to see how things look."

We moved to an actual exam room and he did an exam, during which he extracted fluid from the cervix for analysis.  He said the fluid looked very good, actually the word he used was "beautiful."  And he checked some other stuff as well, making a joke that there was one uterus and two ovaries, so that was good.  He said everything checked out well there.  I got dressed and he came back after analyzing the fluid and he said there were "plenty of healthy sperm" in it, so there's no issue there.  He told me we needed to "take advantage of another fertile day" and then started talking about lab tests.  He wrote up a slip for a progesterone test - a blood test - for 10 days from the appointment.  So I have to go in for a blood test on March 6 to make sure I did, in fact, ovulate this cycle.  He said either I would be pregnant or we would start looking at other tests at that point.

He said if I didn't get pregnant this time, he wanted to get a look at my tubes, to make sure nothing happened to them during the c-section.  Which, of course, is a great fear of mine.

So that was the end of my consultation.  It was not covered under our insurance, so the cost for that brief encounter and the tests was $250 out of pocket.  I have dubbed one of my credit cards "the 2.0 card" and that's all I'm going to use it for until I get pregnant or it maxes out.  It sucks to be adding to credit cards when we are working so hard to pay credit cards off, but I do want to use a card for this, since it will be easier to keep track of our expenses related to it this way.  Plus, I'm actually planning to pay off as much as I can each month so it shouldn't ever max out unless we end up doing a procedure that costs a lot all at once.

Do I feel better?  I actually do.  This visit was the first step, and it will open up some doors for us that were not open before.  If we need treatment, this doctor can do it.  And I liked the doctor a lot.  He was very reassuring.  He did mention my weight, and when I told him I was working very hard on that, he said "good for you."

Did I want to have 2.0 the old fashioned way?  Of course!  Getting pregnant that way is free!  But I would love to have a "made by love and science" baby if that's the way it has to be.  Either way, it's a baby.  Either way, Nathan gets a sibling.  And either way, our family will be complete.  Otherwise, we are going to have to get another dog.  ;)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (17 months old)

Dear Nathan,

Fun in the bath.
What a month it has been!  You have had adventures and have amazed us at every turn.  We watched the Olympics together.  You didn't cheer outwardly for USA, but I feel certain you felt it in your heart.  Your precious face and beautiful smile are captivating.  Your laugh is music.

We took you to the local zoo again - we had been there before, but you were too young then.  This time, you were captivated.  You had a great time feeding the goats their "zoo puffs."  I have some video of that too.  :)

After the zoo, we went to the beach.  You and your dad ran out toward the water.  It was pretty awesome to be able to go to the beach in February and wear t-shirts and jeans.  You loved the water and the sand, and were pretty unhappy about leaving.

A new trick you learned this month was to "trade" people for the things you want.  You find something random around and try to give that to the person who is holding the thing you actually want.  Seriously hilarious and cute.  I'm looking forward to what comes next, while enjoying what is happening right now.  I love you!

All My Love,



I have an appointment with a fertility specialist next Monday.  I'm so nervous about this.  It's a consult, and I guess he will decide when to do tests and what tests to do based on our initial visit.  I don't have any idea what to expect, honestly.  I'm on the verge of freaking out about it.  I keep thinking that maybe something went wrong with my c-section or post-op and that's why we haven't been able to get pregnant again.  And maybe we never will be able to.  And that really scares me.  And I'm afraid he will tell me to lose weight before he will help me.  I know I need to, I have really been trying, but it has been very slow.  I don't want to have to wait another six months (while I try to lose weight) to start treatment if that is what we will need to do.

I guess I'm being impatient, but I'm old!  It's pretty hard not to be impatient when you read all the stats about women 37 and older not being able to have children or having children with problems.  It's enough to make anyone crazy.

So we'll see what he says.  If you haven't already guessed... the pregnancy test last month was negative.  :(

This cycle (cycle 9) I put away the fertility monitor, the ovulation predictor tests, the basal thermometer, and the charting app.  I have no idea which cycle day we are on right now and I have no idea when I'm supposed to ovulate.  We're trying something a little different.  Who knows - maybe it will work?  I know one thing, I'm feeling much more relaxed this time around than I have been the last six months or so.  Much more relaxed.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Trying to Conceive...

Usually I don't talk about this stuff on here, because... well... it's personal.  I won't be sharing this post on my usual social media channels because I don't really want to call a bunch of attention to it, but I do think it's important to put it out there in case someone else is going through it too.

Jon and I have been trying for another baby for 8 months.  It's so strange, because with Nathan, we didn't really have to try.  We were successful the first month we really tried.  So I didn't have to experience the monthly disappointment, the moments of staring at those stupid little test sticks, just praying I would see two lines.  I didn't have to cry over our inability to successfully get pregnant like I have every month for the past 8 months.  He was easy.  This has not been easy.

I know, I know... some people try for a very long time.  And really, it's supposed to take a healthy couple up to a year to be successful.  But when you're 37 and don't want to risk birth defects, every month feels like another huge chunk of sand falling from the top of the hourglass.  That biological clock is ticking HARD right now!

The emotional aspect of this has been so difficult.  Watching other ladies (who I love and am very happy for) getting pregnant, seeing their bump photos and hearing them talk about cravings, seeing their sweet newborns on facebook... it's all a little overwhelming sometimes.  I sometimes want to go on a blackout so I don't have to see it anymore, but since facebook is a big part of my job, that's not really possible.

It got really bad a few weeks ago.  Someone had just told me she was pregnant and I had just heard about several other pregnancies - and I still wasn't.  And one of our fish had baby fish in our aquarium.  I had a meltdown, threw one of Nathan's stuffed animals across the room and yelled "is everyone but me pregnant right now?"  And then burst into tears.  :(  Jon had no idea what to do with me when that happened.  He's been so sweet through all this.

We are considering going in for testing.  Me first, because of my age.  My doctor wanted to confirm ovulation in January with blood tests and an ultrasound, but I have decided to wait until we know when Jon doesn't have to travel anymore, or at least less travel than he has been doing.  He was gone a lot of the month of December and some of January.  We think his contract is up in March, so that's something we are sort of looking toward.

It's not that we don't love Nathan.  We absolutely do.  But we want a sibling for him.  Someone he can play with and love and grow up knowing that someone always has his back.  Because I know how awesome it is to have a sibling.  And I know how much he will appreciate having someone to play with and get into trouble with and all the fun stuff that goes along with having a sibling.

So this is where we are our our journey.  8 months in and waiting to see what happens.  I'm currently about a week away from being able to start testing for pregnancy for this month.  We'll see how that goes...

Friday, January 31, 2014

My first meme!

So we had an ice storm this past week.  We never have ice storms or snow storms.  Or anything like that.  So it was really interesting to experience - and I hope we never experience it again!  Through the whole thing, I had a lot of fun poking fun at us and our inability to keep the world from stopping because of a little ice and snow.  Of course, we don't have the infrastructure or equipment to take care of this, so it was inevitable for it to be a problem.  And it wasn't our fault.  But it was still fun to poke fun.  I live-tweeted the snow storm and took lots of photos of our house and yard.  And I made this meme, which I posted on the news facebook pages and on my company page.  I thought it was funny.  ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

25 Things I Like About Myself

I think this is such a great exercise, especially for people like me, with self-esteem issues.  I'm going to try to do this and see if I can actually come up with 25 of them in one sitting.  ;)

  1. I think my eyes are pretty.
  2. I like my hair.
  3. I think my singing voice is very good.
  4. I am creative.
  5. I am a good writer.
  6. I am a good photographer.
  7. I am good at my job.
  8. I am a nice person.
  9. I am generally well-liked.
  10. I am entertaining in a crowd.
  11. I am a pretty smart cookie!
  12. I am sympathetic.
  13. I am trustworthy.
  14. I am a positive person.
  15. I am generally a happy person.
  16. I am a great mom.
  17. I am a good wife (who wants to change that to great!)
  18. I am a hard worker.
  19. I always try my hardest to achieve my goals.
  20. I am ambitious, but not aggressive about it.
  21. I am a good listener.
  22. I generally stay away from drama and gossip.
  23. I have a nice laugh.
  24. I am musical.
  25. I am a good daughter to the best parents in the world. 
That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  So there are some things I like about myself.  :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (16 months old)

Dear Nathan,

Hello sweet boy!  Now, when I say that to you, you can say "hi" back!  You're learning more and more words, and you can point to some body parts when we ask you where they are.  You can run, jump, march, and climb.  Oh boy, can you climb!  That's your absolute favorite activity right now.  You love to slide down the slide at the park and you still love to swing.

Cheese is still your favorite food, and you like to drink juice (which is unsweetened apple juice that is really watered down.)  When we ask you if you want something to drink, you say "drink."  And then we ask you to choose what you want and you do!  It's super cute.

Over the weekend, we took you back to the zoo that we all went to when you were six months old.  What a difference!  You liked it then, but you LOVE it now!  It was so much fun watching you interact with all the animals.  You really had fun with the goats.  You fed them zoo puffs for like an hour.  And laughed your head off when they licked your fingers.  It was awesome.

Daddy and I are making lots of plans for your future, little one.  We are not confident in the school system these days, so we are very seriously planning to teach you at home.  I'm having a great time daydreaming about our lesson plans and about community activities we can get you involved in so you can make friends.  I honestly can't wait until it's time to start.  I always wanted to be a teacher!  And of course, the best part of that is that I will get to be with you every day.  I'm looking forward to that so much.  I feel like I'm missing so much of your younger years by being at work, but I know it's just so that I can be part of your education later.  And that helps me get through our current situation.

We are also hoping you can have a sibling before the year is over.  It's taking longer than we expected, and we may have to get some medical help to make it happen, but we are trying.  I'm hoping for a sister for you.  I think boys need a little sister to pick on and to protect.  But a brother would be awesome too!

I think that's about all for now.  I love you, buddy!

With all my heart,


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 Year In Review

After the whirlwind of 2012, we were looking forward to a peaceful, quiet year.  We did not take into account that our tiny 4-month-old would become a toddler in 2013, basically ensuring that we would never have peace and quiet again!  :)  So here's the yearly recap.

Great 4 month doctor's appointment!  Jon and I signed up for Color Me Rad - our first 5k!  Nathan ate his first baby food and loved it.  His favorite was sweet potatoes, followed by carrots.  He also loved green beans.  I spent the month learning all about my new job and getting ready to really run with some fun projects at work.

Our big project this month was getting the dead dogwood trees in our front yard cut down.  We were excited to get that done so that we could plant some fruit trees.  Nathan continued to grow and be completely adorable.

Nathan's first trip to the zoo!  He loved the goats and enjoyed watching the monkeys.  He was skeptical about the birds.  ;)  We also celebrated his first Easter, and he got to pet his first bunny!  We actually went all over town trying to find an Easter bunny that didn't look like a pedophile.  We were unsuccessful.  So we went with a real bunny instead.  I'm okay with that.  :)

What a month for us!  Jon and I did our first 5k.  It was Color Me Rad, and although we walked a great deal of it (because I was having foot issues due to wearing terrible shoes during pregnancy.) it was still a great accomplishment and I'm really proud of us for doing it!  And we were super colorful at the end!  I would recommend a color run to anyone who is thinking about it.  We had a lot of fun.  Other April highlights included: getting a new boss - and a new friend.  Nathan's big accomplishments in April included sitting up in a shopping cart for the first time, getting his first tooth, and being silly for the video camera.

I joined Coastal Chorale again, and it was the best decision I ever made.  I love singing with this group and it was great learning all the fun music for the summer show.  Nathan went to his first baseball game, and of course, he had to have a baseball outfit to wear for it.  We also bought him a cute Baybears baseball cap.  But he hates hats, so he never wears it.  ;)  He also got his first haircut at home.  We still haven't gone to a place to have it done, since he's such a wiggle worm.  I keep it trimmed for him for now.  A big milestone was reached in May - our little baby became mobile!  Yep, he learned to crawl - and life was never the same.  He also had his first bath in the big bath tub.  Followed by his first splash fight with mommy.  We celebrated my first Mother's Day, and it was wonderful.  Nathan had his first picnic at the beach, and Jon did a photo shoot with us so I would always remember my first Mother's Day.  Jon planted a garden in the back yard.  We were so excited to be able to grow our own veggies.

A 9 month old!  How did that happen?  Jon and I made pickles for the first time from the cucumbers we grew in our garden.  They were awesome!  Nathan didn't like his too much when he tried it.  ;)  He did, however, enjoy eating real food from a real plate this month.  His first real meal was baked chicken and green beans, followed by some applesauce.  He babbled a lot this month, and learned how to blow raspberries.  I started (and then stopped) the 30 Day Shred.  It was brutal!  Nathan started pulling himself up and bouncing around.  He also started biting me.  Just me - nobody else.  Jon's first Father's Day was this month.  He got a grill/smoker, which he has used 14 times since then (or so he said yesterday, lol)

Coastal Chorale summer show!  First vacation with Nathan!  Nathan's first trip to the aquarium in New Orleans!  Nathan's first road trip!  Lots of fun stuff happened in July this year!  Jon and my dad built an awesome book shelf for our living room and we got an aquarium to go in it.  We love having fish to watch, and so does Nathan.

I spent most of this month making things for Nathan's birthday party.  We did a lot of tests to find an egg-free cake that worked well and I finally found one that was perfect.  We made a banner for the wall and a cool chalkboard with all his accomplishments.  We made cute invitations and sent them out.  Other than party prep, nothing huge happened in August.

The Birthday Month!  We decorated the living room and dining room medieval style and I made a dragon cake.  We invited family and friends.  Nathan was crabby at first, but warmed up to all the attention.  I think a good time was had by all.  And wow - having a 1-year-old is so different from having an infant. He started really cruising the furniture and trying to walk around his birthday.  He also got his first taste of peanut butter.  He liked the taste, but wasn't sure about the consistency.  We also took part in a run benefiting ovarian cancer research.  We were on the team of a dear friend who was diagnosed the same day Nathan was born.  We moved Nathan to his own room this month too.  A year of sleeping in our room and we all slept better with him in his own room!

Our 2nd Anniversary!  We celebrated with dinner and a lovely moonlit stroll at Bayfront Park.  We talked about what a crazy two years it has been!  We made Nathan a knight costume for Halloween and he was adorable.  Nathan got to go to the Shrimp Festival for the first time.  We went to watch his cousin Hannah dance and then walked around and looked at everything.  We also took him to the corn maze, but didn't go into the maze with him this year.  We were afraid it would scare him.  The big thing this month was that he WALKED unassisted for the very first time.  And he hasn't stopped walking/running since.  ;)  Jon's grandmother passed away at the end of the month.  It was an awful time for him.  :(

Nathan started doing weekly art projects with Nana, so we set up a cool way to display them in the hallway.  I turned 37 (yikes!) and had a great birthday weekend.  Nathan got to go to Greek Fest for the first time - and the fair!

Christmas with a toddler!  We took Nathan to Bellingrath's Magic Christmas in Lights and he loved it.  He also loved riding around our neighborhood look at the lights on the houses.  He kept saying Ohhhh... yay! when we passed a pretty house.  He enjoyed the book-a-day advent activity that I set up for him and it really helped him learn how to unwrap gifts.  And now he brings books to us all the time, so we know he loves reading.  :)  We also had the Coastal Chorale Christmas show, which was just magical.  I love singing with this group and can't wait to get right back to it for the Snowbird show!

So that's the year in review.  Overall, it was a great one.  I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for our little family!