Monday, March 30, 2015

3 Years of Gracie

Hey, guess what little bean? You are THREE years old! Please tell me how that happened so fast and how we can slow it down? Everything mama’s been reading lately says that turning 3 means you’re no longer a baby. Well guess what kiddo, when you’re 18 you’ll still be our baby. You’ll be our baby forever!

The last year has been pretty great for you! It’s been a year of learning, travel, adventure and making new friends. You’re officially a preschooler and since your last birthday you’ve joined a soccer team, started learning how to swim with the help of swimming lessons and learned how to ride a tot bike all on your own. A few months ago mommy and I transitioned you to a big girl room and you were officially potty trained at just 2 ½ years old! You now have your first passport stamp and you’ve taken your first trip out of country and loved every minute of it! Your mamas didn’t go on their first international trip until they were in their late 20’s, which means you are one well-traveled toddler compared to us. ;)

At this age, I no longer keep track of the number of words you say or all the super awesome things you can do because it’s honestly just too much to keep track of. In your first ever parent-teacher conference in early February, your teachers told us that you and a fellow classmate of yours are the most advanced students in the entire class! Your mamas have known what a smarty-pants you are since you were tiny but it’s so great to hear the same from others who spend so much time with you. They described you as a leader who is also independent and not afraid to go your own way or speak up for yourself. They shared with us that you are kind, get along great with your classmates and that the skills you demonstrate in their class are at the same level as the 4 year olds in the next age group up from you! Little gal, we are just so very proud of you! 

At 3 years old, here are a few of your favorite things!

Preschool: this is your FAVORITE thing on the planet! You only go 3 days a week but would go everyday, all day if you had your choice. Almost every night as we’re sitting down to dinner, you have stories about your school buds that you’re eager to share and you adore your teachers. Your school has one teacher for every 3 students so you get tons of one-on-one attention and it shows. You can sing songs in English and Spanish and even one if German! You know your days of the week, all of the seasons and all of your colors including less common ones like turquoise. And stinker, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you’ve learned this past year! The thing we’ve loved most about your first year of school is all the friends you’ve made and all the wonderful field trips and projects you’ve been a part of. We just can’t wait to see what your second year of preschool brings.

Princess everything: As much as Mommy wanted you to be an athlete, you seem to be much more interested in being a princess these days. You own more princess dresses than Mama has regular dresses and you wear them 24/7. Princess Gracie has been spotted at the grocery store, the mall and just about every other place in town. You love them so much that Mommy turned a little corner of your room into a “princess corner” complete with the mirror that used to be in your nursery, a chest of dresses, lines of shoes and all your princess accessories hanging on the wall. You were so excited when Mommy did this and play there often.

One of the highlights of this past holiday season was when you and your cousin Mia got to go to a meet and greet with Elsa and Anna! You both couldn’t stop staring at the princesses and looked just adorable in your dresses! 

The outdoors: specifically snow, which you didn’t truly discover until this winter. You’ve always loved camping and going to the lake in the summer months but NM didn’t get record breaking snow until about a month ago. I’m going to credit Frozen for your obsession with all things winter. Here are some pictures of a few recent snow days. You made your first ever snowman! We sledded you around and had a blast!

Your big girl room: you love it! Like LOVE, love it! You helped us pick the furniture and can often be found playing kitchen or dress-up in your princess corner anytime you’re not hanging out with us in the main part of the house. You have waaaay too many stuffed buddies and babies in your room and insist that they all sleep with you at naptime and bedtime. I mean, just look at this!

For now, Mama has given up on making your bed. It’s a ghastly mess most days…

 A last favorite thing that comes to mind is your cousins. There is no one on this earth that you would rather spend time with, play with and get dirty with more than your cousins. Your face lights up when we tell you that we’re going to visit them. They truly are your best friends!

Just look at you cuties!

One of the things that warms your mamas hearts more than anything else is that you now know all the words to the prayer we say every night before we have dinner. After our prayers we each share what our best part of the day was or something we’re thankful for. 8 times out of 10 you say you are thankful for your cousin Mia. Heart melts.

On the other hand, there is one thing that you’ve grown to dislike, very much…

Doctors appointments: you would think Mommy and me were handing you over to a pack of wolves every time you have a dentist appointment or a visit to the plastic surgeon. This past dentist visit was the absolute worst you’ve had so far. It started with a little hesitation and ended with a full on meltdown of epic proportion. Even though you were just a little baby when you had your cleft lip surgery and suture removal procedure, your mamas think you have a bit of PTS from all of it because you’ve never been a fan of Dr. appointments and with the dentist, it doesn't seem to be getting any better. 

Now the good stuff – your birthday week!

Your birthday fell on a Saturday this year so your birthday party was the same day as your actual birthday. Because you’re in school now we wanted to have cupcakes for you to share with your school buds the day before and thankfully me and Mommy were able to take a long lunch to be there and sing to you! We did your cupcakes at the end of the day as parents were picking up kiddos so you had a big audience. All the parents and kiddos sang and cheered for you. You loved it. :)

After celebrating your birthday at school, me and mommy took you to get your first pedicure! You asked for Little Mermaid toes and did so good as the very nice nail lady worked on your little feet.

Sticking with the tradition we started on your first birthday, the morning of your 3rd bday started with cupcakes! Mama waited until the day before your birthday to pick up your birthday cupcake from the grocery store and because I waited until the last minute, all they had left was blue. Because you’re a gal obsessed with pink, the baker helped me add some pink frosting and even threw in a princess tiara for your special day!

I’m not sure how you remembered but you somehow knew that you were getting a cupcake when you woke up the morning of your birthday. You ran to me and Mommy’s bed and asked, “where’s my cake?” Haha! Mama ran and got it and we sang you happy birthday!

We spent the morning preparing last minute things for your Little Mermaid bash while fielding calls from everyone calling to wish you a happy birthday! You even got an extra special call from your favorite cartoon character, Peter Rabbit!

So now we’re just counting down the days until we go to Disneyland and you couldn’t be more excited! This is something your mamas have been planning for a long time and you, my sweet girl deserve it. You are so full of love and joy and show kindness to everyone you meet. Our greatest blessing is being your mamas and we can’t wait to take you to the most magical place on earth!

We love you, little stinker.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Brother

To the outside world, we all grow old.
But not to a brother and sister.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other's hearts.
We share family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets,
family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time.
- C. Ortega

Happy birthday to my big brother.
Best guy I know.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An early visit to the Easter Bunny

This year we’re going to have an Easter like none we’ve had before. We've always spent Easter at home but this time around it will be spent on a beautiful beach in California! Yeeeppppie! Initially G and I decided that we would just wait until we were in CA and if we happened to come across an Easter Bunny while out an about, we would have Gracie’s picture taken. The Bean changed our plans a bit this past weekend, per usual. ;)

Sunday was a – we have to go to the mall and buy stuff for vacation kind of day. I loathe shopping and seriously only go to the mall like once or twice a year so I wasn’t super excited considering all the shops we needed to visit. Surprisingly, it actually turned out to be a pretty fun day. We hit up the Disney Store because while I know that the handmade shirts my wife is making for our days at Disney are going to be awesome, the compulsive planner in me needed to pick up some back-up tops for us, just in case. I explained to G that I have absolute faith that the shirts are going to be amazing but it will help me to have less stress this week knowing we have backups, so she obliged. (And an update since I wrote this yesterday – the shirts look totally fabulous so far)!

We exchanged some of Gracie’s birthday clothes that were too small and now the gal is stylin’ and totally ready for the West Coast! After visiting the food court, we hit up another shop and came across an elaborate Rapunzel dress that was $9 down from $40 and we just had to get it! She of course wanted to wear it right away so we ended up leaving the store with our own little Gracie Rapunzel. People we gushing about how cute she looked even the guy running the Easter Bunny pictures, which resulted in FREE photos with Mr. Bunny! Here is Sunday’s impromptu Easter Bunny picture complete with messy hair, princess dress and ketchup on the face. Perfection!

We spent the rest of our weekend cleaning, prepping for my transfer and trying clothes on the kiddo. It’s amazing the amount of clothing you can get a child to try on with the mere promise of a Dum-Dum lollypop, LOL! I got the idea to take vacation outfit pics on Pinterest and started doing it when we went to BritishColumbia in September. Rather than dig through your suit cases every morning and evening as you head out on vacation outings, take photos of your kiddos outfits beforehand so you can pick what you want from a photo rather than trying to remember what you packed while also wrecking your nicely folded clothes. So much easier when you’re traveling for a week and a half and staying in three places. Plus, look at this toddler fashion. So cute!

Tomorrow is the big day and I feel totally chill about it. The progesterone and oil shot don’t hurt me at all, which has been the best surprise. I’ve always had a freakishly high threshold for pain but after hearing so many horror stories about how bad these shots were I started to stress a bit. When we did the first shot I was like, is it in?! Is that it? I then thought I just lucked out on day one and that day two would surely suck. Here we are on day five of my PIO shots and still, I’m handling it like a champ! Phew!

In the next 12 days we have our IVF transfer, we marry off my mom, celebrate my brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, father-in-law’s and nephew’s birthdays, go to San Diego (and the San Diego Zoo), spend two days in Disneyland, go visit the ocean AND find out if Grace is going to be a big sister!!!

It’s going to be crazy busy and I’ve never been more excited! 

I hope you all are doing well out in blogland. Good night!

12/52: Feeling Hopeful

Friday, March 13, 2015

FET Update

This update wasn’t going to happen… And then I decided to write it; I put my thoughts down on paper and then decided against posting, again. I’ve gone back and forth quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. My hesitation with sharing our transfer date and FET plans is that I would essentially be sharing the exact date that we may, (God willing) get pregnant. This is something I’ve been afraid to share, mostly because I’m reluctant to share my feelings and excitement prematurely in the event that things don’t work out again. What I’ve been thinking is that if I share the news that we’re transferring one of our beautiful little embies, if I put it out there, then I may also have to write that dreaded BFN post in a couple of weeks and that would be really hard. You could consider this a negative way of thinking, or just very guarded. I would consider myself guarded – but I’m getting better. 

Up until about two weeks ago, I was going through the motions of FET prep. You know, the acupuncture appointments, the injections, the estradiol patches, the no caffeine, the supplements, the exercise, etc. but I still wasn’t convinced that it would work. I guess when you’ve been through 15 months of disappointment, you become more of a realist and less of an optimist. Then I had this amazing fertility acupuncture session two weeks ago that changed everything for me. 

I started seeing a new acupuncturist by accident and she’s been amazing. Because of work I had to change the day of my weekly appointment, which meant I had to see another Dr. in the practice. I’m so thankful I did because it’s been a whole different experience and so much better. Dr. J listens, she calms me and advises me on ways to manage my emotions and energy. The appointments are never rushed and I always leave feeling rejuvenated. In the session I had two weeks ago, we went through the normal questions she asks before beginning every week. What’s going on with me? How am I feeling? What feels good, what hurts, etc. I was very honest with her and shared that I was feeling negative and angry even though I didn’t have anything to be angry about. Our conversation that followed was powerful and following our session something just kind of changed for me. I didn’t notice that anything was different until a few days later as I was driving to pick Gracie up from school. There I am driving along with this giant smile on my face as I pictured myself pregnant. I than thought to myself, I can totally get pregnant this month. This could work. This is going to work! I’m going to get pregnant!

I can’t explain what happened exactly other than something clicked. It’s like my brain told my body and spirit that it was ok to have hope again. I suddenly felt less afraid to have faith, real faith and could actually picture the possibilities. It felt good.

When I left my session that day, Dr. J told me, “Kristin, go. Be unbroken.” 

So this is me today. Hopeful and unbroken.

{My transfer is set for Thursday, March 24th at 1pm}

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

{Gracie’s 3rd Birthday Party!}

So guess what? We have a 3 year old! A THREE year old! Every year my birthday posts for our stinker start the same. They all sound a little like this, "she’s another year older and I can’t believe it!" The thing is, I really can’t. I was told that time would fly once I was a mom. I was told it so often that it was actually kind of annoying, to be honest. Yet now that I am a mama and I’m living the mama life, I understand what everyone was talking about. It’s like one day you have this little potato looking baby who spends all of their time eating sleeping and pooping, and then in the blink of an eye they’re potty trained, in school and speaking in complete sentences and it really does feel like it happens over night. It's crazy!

This birthday was exciting for us because this was the first year that Gracie really got it. She knows what month she’s born in, so she’s been counting down the days for weeks now and actually gave us input on what she wanted for her birthday party. Like always, it was all about The Little Mermaid, which worked out perfectly because we had the Bean’s birthday party at our local Aquatic Center. Now that the party has come and gone, I’m in love with that place and I want to have all her birthday parties there until she’s a teen! It was a pretty fantastic location.

Our number one goal this year was to keep our party plans simple. I had no intention of spending weeks making handmade decorations, or picture collages, or any other over the top party projects. We also didn’t want to spend the days leading up to our gal’s birthday in the kitchen cooking for our giant family. IVF has taken over our lives for the past two months and along with the BIG birthday surprise we’ve been working on since December for Grace, an easy breezy birthday party was a must and that’s exactly what we got. We did of course make sure to throw in a few of our gal’s favorite menu items. The girl LOVES popcorn, cookies, fruit, salty snacks, pizza and CAKE! So we made sure we had all the food essentials covered. It was so adorable to watch her run from the pool to snag handfuls of goldfish and popcorn all afternoon.

We had one heck of a full house and everyone came ready to swim. Even most of the adults! The pool had slides for the bigger kiddos along with different water features that sprayed and dropped buckets of water on the little kids and Grace loved it. From the moment we arrived she was in the pool crawling around, walking to the deepest level she could reach and splashing all her guests. G and I took turns playing with her in the water and it was a challenge even to squeeze in that little bit of one on one time because all of her cousins wanted her too! The only times we were actually able to get her out of the water was once for a potty break and then for presents and cake. Other than that she was splashing around for hours, slowly turning into a toddler-sized raisin.  

I loved how laid back this birthday party was. We didn’t have an agenda other than to eat and play in the water. There was no need for jumpers or to keep anyone entertained because the entire place was a playground. My BF and her family were in town so Gracie’s little buddy Olivia came and the two of them were inseparable. By about an hour in, Gracie’s knees were as red as could be from scraping the bottom of the pool while she played and it didn’t even faze her. She was seriously having the time of her life.

I waited until a week before the party to begin looking into ordering a birthday cake (slacker, I know) and by the time I did, most places weren’t taking orders. We ended up looking into a bakery that we hadn’t even considered because we had heard they were pricey but it turned out that wasn’t true. G ordered the cake with the Little Mermaid figurines Grace requested and it came out amazing! Even better, it tasted amazing! The birthday girl ate two pieces and we got a ton of compliments. Isn’t it just the cutest? I loved all the seaweed and coral designs on the side and that some of the characters were hidden in the reef. It took every bit of restraint Grace could muster not to steal Little Mermaid from her cake. We had to keep a close eye on her, lol!

Our day ended with the opening of gifts and because I helped Grace open her gifts last year, this year it was G’s turn. Let’s just say she’s going to leave that job to me from now on, LOL! If you’ve ever opened gifts with a toddler and their friends, you know what a feeding frenzy it is in the pit of presents. You have kids grabbing presents from every direction. The birthday girl removing cards from their bags and tissue paper flying about. G was no match for these kids and she’s just happy she survived. In the end we really had no idea who brought what because cards got mixed up and gifts got shoved in the same bags but what matters is that our mermaid girl had a blast! With the gifts she loved the most she would jump up and hold them as high as she could to show everyone with the biggest smile on her face. It made me so happy to watch the chaos unfold. Sorry babe, haha!

The BIGGEST surprise of the day was Gracie’s birthday gift from her mamas… We’re taking our birthday girl to Disneyland! We leave in less than 3 weeks so the countdown is officially on! First stop is San Diego for 2 days for my mom’s wedding and the San Diego Zoo, then 3 days in Anaheim for Disneyland and California Adventure followed by 3 days in West Hollywood and the Beach! We can’t wait! Along with the big news we gave our birthday girl a Little Mermaid princess dress to wear on day one at the park along with some hot pink matching converse, Minnie Mouse ears, a few little gifts and an autograph book I made for her. I didn’t do the autograph book thing when I went to Disneyland as a kid but I knew from the moment we decided we were going to take Grace that I wanted to make her one. I can already picture her walking cautiously up to the Disney Princesses to get their autographs. I’m totally going to cry like a baby… I already know.

Here's a little video of my DIY creation ~ 

And that about wraps it up! Such a fun and busy weekend and what G and I both agree was her best birthday yet. Grace would agree too! After she opened her gifts we had her face the crowd to say thank you and she said (and I quote) "Thank you for coming to my party! Best birthday ever!" I swear we didn't coach her to say that and it just about melted our hearts. :)

We have so many exciting things coming in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned. I fully plan to write a proper "3 years of Gracie" post before the end of the month. I will write it! I will write it! I must!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Love, love, love...

It’s everywhere! Especially in February. Some call Valentine’s Day a fake holiday while others, like me, LOVE v-day! I mean, what’s not to love about a fun little holiday centered on chocolate, presents and making sure the ones you care for the most, know how much you adore them? I know this post is coming to you late (it’s been sitting in my drafts for almost 3 WEEKS), but considering we go all out in this house for love day, I still wanted to share. The wifey humored me this year and assisted in decorating our casa in Valentine’s decorations, which is something our gal couldn’t get enough of. She was in charge of decorating the windows and refrigerator with Monsters Inc. and Disney Princess rubber stickers and boy did she deliver. The fridge was covered!

I knew that my egg retrieval would fall two days prior to Valentine’s and that I would possibly be in a little pain on Valentine’s day, so we did most of our celebrating early and celebrate we did! For an entire week. :)

The week started with a Mama + Gracie Valentine’s baking session at home. I promised Grace weeks before that we would make some cookies and cupcakes for her grandparents and that she could do all the decorating. I will say that she ate more sprinkles then she used on the baked goods but she had so much fun and that’s what matters, right? She was a very messy and excited little helper!

Our next love day project was to work on homemade Valentine’s Day cards for Gracie’s aunts, uncles and teachers as well as her school buds. G picked up some foam pads and heart themed foam stickers and we let Grace go to work. Most cards were covered with kitties and dogs with random letters attached. These were her cards to decorate as she wished and everyone loved them! She was so proud of herself. The Bean also made goodie bags full of stickers, play-doh, candy and cards. The preschool love grams were her favorite to make.

As Gracie’s Nani does every year, she had all the grandkids over to make Valentine’s gifts for all us parents. The kids spent the afternoon crafting and playing in the backyard and had a blast. Thank you Nani for always doing so many fun things with our little ones.

School lunches were also so much fun to make this month! There were lots of hearts, pink treats, love notes and even a bit of cake involved. I love every part of being a mama but doing stuff like this for my baby girl makes my heart extra happy.

Our highlight of the week was that Gracie’s uncle Dean came to visit! Brother Bear turned 40 in February and decided to spend his Valentine’s Day and week leading up to the big 4-0 with us. Gracie was so happy to have her uncle all to herself and the two of them had a blast together. Uncle Dean even shared his birthday cake!

Such a great week, so much love! We hope you loved all your little V-day presents baby girl but more importantly, we hope you know how much you are loved on Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year!

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