Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Walking for a cause

This past Sunday, our little bean got to join her mamas for the first time in an event we’ve participated in for the past 6 or 7 years – the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.  Before today, Georgia and I had never had a family member diagnosed with breast cancer.  That changed this afternoon when Georgia’s mom told her that an aunt, who we love so very much, was just diagnosed this morning.  We’re still making sense of it but ask that if you’re the praying kind, please say a little prayer for her.

My closest friend’s mom, who is like a second mom to me, battled breast cancer for several years while we were growing up.  Since her remission another close friend from work was diagnosed with breast cancer at 26 years old and battled the disease for a year.  I am so happy to report that she too is now in remission.  I think these are the stories that give me hope that the doctors found aunt M’s cancer early enough and that she is going to be ok.

I am sure that we have all been impacted by breast cancer whether it be directly or indirectly through a friend or family member.  It is a devastating form of cancer that does not discriminate.  It attacks women of all ages, races, religions and lifestyles.  This is why awareness and fundraising is so important.

I am very proud of the fact that the company I work for is a strong supporter of breast cancer research and raises money each year to help in finding the cure.  This year my department held two fundraisers, the first being a burrito breakfast and the second, a nacho party and while we only raised a few hundred dollars, my organization ended up raising $3,428.00 for future research!  The main reason I’m sharing this is to show how important it is to get involved in the movement and that EVERY little bit helps.

If you would like to donate or get ideas on how you too can fund-raise, click here.

Our walk on Sunday was 5 miles and Grace did so well.  She happily scooted along in her stroller enjoying the sunshine and her snacks until we neared the finish line before growing restless.  G held her for the last 20 minutes or so, which she loved because that gave her the opportunity to see more of the action.  This little gal of ours is quite the social butterfly!  It was a fun day full of emotion and encouragement for the survivors present and the families of those who were not there to walk and while this event has always been important to us, after today’s news, it is all that much more significant.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

{A Little Summer Vacay}

We’re baaaaack!  I feel like I’ve been living off the grid for the past couple of weeks with all the craziness that’s been going on around here.  Before leaving on our early summer vacay, I had to complete performance appraisals at work, which is the longest and most soul draining part of my job, ha!  We then took our trip to AZ and came home with a sick little gal.  We’re not sure where Gracie caught a bug (probably the germy airport) but she was quite barfy until this past Tuesday.  Before this stomach bug, the only other time she has been sick in the past 14 months was when she had a cold back in November.  As we learned with her stomach bug, a cold and a tummy virus are two very different things.  She got sick once a day for about 5 days but didn’t really have a fever, no diarrhea and was sleeping fine.  There wasn’t much we could do for her aside from keeping her hydrated, fed and comfortable, so that’s what we did.  Thankfully the bug has passed and Grace is back to normal.

Anywho… back to the trip!  Travel for work and *Georgia’s 35th birthday* resulted in a family trip out to Gilbert, AZ to visit our good friends Sara, Vince and their little gal, Olivia.  I flew out separately because my company arranged my travel, which meant that Georgia got to fly with Grace all by herself!  I’m not going to lie, we were very nervous.  Luckily my OCD does at times come in handy and I made sure Georgia was more than prepared with anything she would need.  I also took some of G’s clothing and Gracie’s luggage with me to lighten Georgia’s load.  As it turned out, the flight there was a breeze… the flight back was somewhat of a nightmare for my poor wife.  Now that Grace is a full-time walker, the last thing she wants to do is be carried.  Well, Georgia made the mistake of taking her out of the stroller while they were waiting at the gate so Grace could stretch her legs before the flight.  Gracie basically went nuts, she wanted to run everywhere, and she wanted to play with every.single.child in sight.  She even went as far as to ambush a table of little kids playing cards, yelling, “hi, hi, hi” and when the kids didn’t say hi back, she tried climbing onto their laps, LOL!  Georgia said she felt slightly panicked because she couldn’t just let Grace wonder without watching her closely and that would require her to chase Grace with luggage in tow.  Strapping baby girl back in her stroller is what brought on the tantrum that lasted until G boarded, at which point Gracie quickly passed out (thank GOD).  Mad props to the wife for surviving her first flight alone with Grace.  From what G says it was her first and last… haha!

The weather in Gilbert was amazing!  I’ve always said that I can’t understand how anyone can live in a state as HOT as Arizona but the temperature was perfect for our visit.  Sara’s daughter Olivia and Grace are just weeks apart in age so they of course had a blast together.  They played, they shared, they gave each other kisses and taught each other new things.  Grace can now blow kisses, LOVES blueberries and is obsessed with bubble baths all thanks to little miss Olivia. :)  I didn’t want to be stuck behind a camera all week, so on this trip we went the quick and easy cell phone picture route.  The pictures aren’t as clear as they would have been on G’s fancy camera but sometimes you need to leave the fancy camera at home and go with the flow.    

During our visit we…

Took the gals to Sara and Olivia’s favorite splash pad.  Olivia was way more daring than Grace; with this being Gracie’s first splash pad experience but they both had so much fun playing in the water!  And before you think I’m crazy for putting a bow on my kid at the splash pad, allow me to explain.  Her hair is growing out so funny.  In the back, both sides are longer than the middle so it looks like she got a hold of the scissors and chopped the middle piece off and in the front, her hair comes down in a V all the way to her nose.  If she doesn’t have a clip in her hair to pull it back, she can’t see very well, hence the water bow. ;)

Little water babies!

We spent our afternoons swimming in the pool and soaking up the sunshine.  Grace is a total water baby and was happy to take a dip with mama even though the unheated pool was only about 73 degrees.  It was so nice to not be tied to a busy agenda during our stay.  Everyday started with breakfast, coffee and relaxation in the backyard swimming, playing in the grass and just laying out.  Grace LOVED every minute of it.

We shopped a lot, which is funny because I’m not really much of a shopper and even though we have a Build-a-Bear at home, that was one of the first stores we stopped in.  G immediately saw the new Pinky Pie, My Little Pony horse they just started selling so that was a must have.  Grace has carried that poor horse around by her bright pink hair every day since, hehe.  We also made the customary visit to IKEA because you simply can’t go to AZ and not stop by IKEA, right?!  I love that the girls wore matching outfits on this day.  It wasn’t planned at all, they both just happened to have the same romper from the GAP in pink and blue.  So cute. :)

During our shopping spree, the little gals weren’t the only ones spoiled.  The moms got in on the action too!  Sara and I have been BF’s going on 23 years and to celebrate the trip (and what Sara referred to as “Best Friend Christmas”) we got matching friend charms from Pandora.  My Pandora charm bracelet was my first Mother’s Day gift from the wife and it’s one of my most cherished possessions.  I was so happy to add a little stiletto to my collection!

K & S circa 1989-ish  

Last but definitely not least, we ate a ton of delicious food!  I’ve got to hand it to AZ; there wasn’t a single restaurant we dinned at that wasn’t delish.  Our hometown tends to have more chain restaurants than anything else, so it was nice to try something new. 

Huge thanks to Sara, Vince and baby O for making our trip so much fun and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my baby cakes!  Cheers to the next 35. ;)  

Summer Bucket List: Take a summer vacation - check! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

* 2013 Summer Bucket List *

For anyone who has followed this little blog of mine since its infancy, you know how much I LOVE lists.  To-do lists, goal lists, work lists, pro/con lists… I use them all and I use them often.  Of my many lists, bucket lists would have to be an absolute favorite.  I made my first bucket list back in 2011 as a countdown to my 30th birthday.  Of the 30 activities friends and family helped come up with, Georgia and I ended up doing around 20 of them.  The same can be said for last year’s summer bucket list. I think we only ended up getting to around 6 of the 14 things listed. Such slackers. ;)

Well it’s a new year and we have a new list!  I’m hoping to stay more on top of things this summer with Gracie’s activities and I’m also hoping this colorful list will help to inspire me to not procrastinate!  We’ve already checked one activity off the list.  Blog post about that adventure coming soon…

What fun activities do you have planned this summer?

16/52: My NPP has arrived! Ekkk!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

TTC #2...

Is officially underway!  Our original plan for this, our second attempt to bring a beautiful baby into the world, has changed a few times in recent months.  The first plan was to begin our TTC (trying to conceive) prep in January so that come March when Grace turned one, I would be ready for my first insemination.  Well, as life would have it, the closer we got to March the more I realized I just wasn’t ready.  I felt that Grace was still too little and to be completely honest, I was exhausted.  All that went into celebrating baby girl’s birthday + the torture we were going through with teething + Gracie’s STTN finally getting under control + total craziness at work, left me feeling pulled in a hundred different directions and sooo not ready. 

While I didn’t feel ready, I still felt panicked at the idea of waiting.  I know that must sound like a contradiction but it took us nearly 3 YEARS to get Gracie here and I knew that if we decided to put TTC #2 off another year and it took us 3 years again, that would be a much larger age gap then either Georgia or I wanted.  I actually felt pretty guilty about wanting to wait; like I was foiling our plan or something and in January when G began asking me questions about getting started I had to come clean that I wasn’t ready.  I shared with her that the thought of acupuncture twice a week, doc appointments, fertility clinic visits, saving for maternity leave, diet changes, weight loss and everything else that comes along with TTC stressed me out.  I think it stressed me out because I feel like it was just yesterday that we were doing all of these things to make Gracie.  I also think it stressed me out because of my concerns with my PCOS.

Deep down I have some very real fears that I’m going to have issues conceiving due to my Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  While AF is now a very regular monthly visitor and I ovulate, dropping at least 20 more pounds is a must.  I need to change my diet a bit and begin cutting wine and the occasional cigarette out completely.  I’m also freaked because this would be my FIRST pregnancy and delivery.  I know what it’s going to be like having gone through every step when Georgia carried our little gal, but it’s just different knowing that it will be ME physically experiencing it this time around.  Yikes!

It’s amazing how much thought and planning go into conception for LGBT families and it can be quite overwhelming when you sit back and think of all that goes into creating a precious little life.  The good part is I know I want this and I really am excited.  The January deadline just scared me and I needed more time.  In hindsight, I’m glad I took the time I needed.  Now that I feel more centered, things at work are so much better and Gracie’s doing great, it’s GO TIME!

This past week we began the new patient process with our fertility clinic and they’re actually mailing me my new patient packet this week!  We finally paid off the $650 balance at our sperm bank, out of state and saved enough money to have the 3 vials we’ve been storing there shipped to NM to join the other 5 vials we’re paying to store here.  My new patient appointment/registration is in early May and it’s just crazy to think that things are finally underway!

Because we’ll begin inseminations around the July timeframe and because my lovely wife’s birthday is around the corner, we’re taking an early summer vacation this year.  This month we’re heading out to Arizona to spend a week with my BF Sara, her husband Vince and their little girl Olivia who is just a few weeks older than Grace.  I’m so looking forward to spending our days by their pool, watching the girls play and taking Grace on little adventures while we’re out there!  This will be her second flight, so let’s hope it goes well!

So, I know this post has been all over the place but I’ll wrap things up with this adorable little video.  I was finally able to catch Grace saying, “hi” and signing “water” on video!  Baby girl usually signs, “water” with all three fingers but you get the idea.  This video makes my heart so happy. :)

14/52: My beautiful wife

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter, eggs & a toddler, oh my!

Easter has always been a very special holiday for our little family.  Not only is it a day that we give thanks for all that we have been blessed with, but it is also somewhat of a birthday palooza!  This year my sis-in-law’s birthday fell on Palm Sunday, my brother’s was the day following Passover and both Gracie’s grandpa George and her cousin Rudy celebrated their birthday’s on the 1st and 2nd of April, following the Easter holiday.  It is always a busy time full of family, cooking and tons of celebration.  This year we threw a toddler (still can’t believe I have a toddler!) in the mix, which definitely added a lot more JOY and chaos to the day. ;)

Easter officially started for us on Saturday night.  After Grace went to bed, we spent the evening getting her Easter basket ready along with little gifts for the nieces, nephews and grandparents.  This year Grace “hand painted” flowerpots for her grandparents and along with some seedlings and a little note from baby girl, we had something extra special to give the people that show our gal so much love.  I broke out the apron to do some baking and even Georgia channeled her inner Martha Stewart.  While I made colored deviled eggs and rolls, she baked up some yummy Easter egg brownie nests.  As we enjoyed some vino and finished up the crafting and baking, I couldn’t help but think to myself – being a mom is so much FUN!  Sure, it can get hectic and stressful at times but nights like this remind me of just how fun it is.   

We met G’s parents for brunch at one of our favorite restaurants Easter morning.  The weather was beautiful and Grace was in the best mood.  We were seated in a covered patio area looking out to the garden where the Easter Bunny was and there were kiddos everywhere!  Grace recently discovered what I lovingly refer to as her, “yelling voice” and she used it quite a bit during the meal.  I will admit I get nervous when she yells.  Even though she is smiling and excited while she does it, I’m still worried that someone is going to say something to us.  And to be honest, I’m more worried about what I would say back to anyone who would say something to us, lol.  Our silly little toddler has become quite the handful when eating out.  She desperately wants to explore rather than sit strapped in a chair.  Our dinning out experiences now involve MANY, many yogurt bites, plenty of toys to keep her busy, a spoon to play with and a straw or two for her to chew on.  Thankfully the shouting at brunch was minimal and ended once the food arrived.  I’m assuming our fellow brunchers were smitten with her cuteness because all we got from those around us were smiles.

Grandma and Grandpa gave Grace the most beautiful little porcelain angel that they had blessed at their church.  I know Gracie is going to cherish these meaningful gifts when she’s older but for now they are stored up high, far away from her little hands!

Following brunch we strolled the restaurant grounds checking out the Easter egg hunts that were being set up and even attempted to pay the Easter Bunny another visit.  Grace wasn’t having it so I didn’t make her sit with him.  The weird thing is that she did great with Mr. Bunny just days ago.  Oh well… at least we got one cute Easter Bunny picture of her smiling.  No need to torture the poor girl for a second one, right?!

My mom had everyone over to her casa for lunch and an Easter egg hunt later in the afternoon.  Gracie had lots of goodies and a little Easter basket waiting for her when we arrived full of play dishes for her and Mia’s new playhouse.  As I promised G last year, Gracie got to change out of her “fancy” Easter dress and put on something she could walk, crawl and play in.  This is something G has always been adamant about… I can dress her up on holidays, but I have to at some point let mommy dress her down, ha!  Thank you auntie Sara for the adorable polka dot outfit, it was perfect!

I adore watching Grace play with her cousins.  She gets so excited when she sees them and plays full-on (no nap) style the entire time they are together.  The kids spent the afternoon playing on the swings and in the adorable little house Nani got them.  They hunted for Easter eggs, chased each other around and blew bubbles in the grass.  It was so cute!

Our day was full of fun and went by fast and at the risk of sounding cheesy… It was definitely a day that reminded us of just how blessed we are to have all of these people in our lives.  To my fellow bloggers, I’ve loved seeing your Easter pictures and hope you all had a great day too!

Now I shall leave you with a picture that perfectly encapsulates my little toddler girl these days… Using her “yelling voice”. ;)

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