Thursday, May 30, 2013

22/52: My kind of sippy cup


My wife often buys the most random (but equally awesome) things.  This is her latest purchase… sippy cups for wine drinking mamas!  I decided I needed to test the quality of the merchandise last night and I’m giving these sippies 4 out of 5 stars.  If only they were bigger. ;)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day with a side of jealousy


From the time you’re a kid and all the way up through college, Memorial Day Weekend often means traveling, parties, sleeping-in and fun.  As you get older, this tends to change a bit.  More responsibility often translates into working some holiday weekends or using the time off to catch-up on things around the house.  That was the case for us this Memorial Day weekend.  I desperately wanted to go camping or do anything festive really, but there was so much that had to be done around the house and money that needed to be saved rather than spent, so going out of town just wasn't an option.  We spent the first half of our 4 days off cleaning the yard, pruning the roses, doing laundry (tons of laundry), hooking up the AC and grocery shopping.  By Sunday I found myself feeling very blue and a little green with envy.  Facebook can be a pain in the ass sometimes as it pertains to this situation, especially on holidays when you’re stuck at home... I was reading posts and looking at pictures of friends camping, laking, visiting awesome places like Belize and Paris – while I sat folding laundry and feeling sorry for myself.

I should clarify that my feelings of “blueness” have more to do with things going on with my job right now (post on that later) more so than anything else, but still I found myself feeling envious and I hate feeling like that.  I’m an adult so obviously I understand that not every holiday can be a big celebration.  I’ve also been a home owner long enough to understand that the work never really ends and it's just a part of owning your own property.  I just have a tendency to become overwhelmed and slightly depressed when things aren’t going “according to plan” and right now they most definitely are not.  Things on the home front are better but with as much time as I spend in the office, when things are in limbo there, it has just as much of an impact.  I’m sure all my fellow working moms can understand what that feels like.   

I know I’ve read fellow bloggers post about the perfect lives some portray on social networking sites and that we all know that things aren’t always what they appear.  Even with that being said, do any of you find yourself comparing your life, family, career, holidays, etc. with those connected with you on your social networking sites?  I try not to, but sometimes when I’m stressed or just overwhelmed with the day-to-day “to-do’s”, that little green monster creeps in.

Thankfully me and G have awesome moms who joined us in ending my weekend of self-pity on a happy note. :)  On Monday me, G and the babe joined my family for a day at the pool.  We packed a picnic and spent the entire afternoon swimming, sunning ourselves and playing with the kiddos.  I even went on one of the big slides, which is something I never do.  It felt great to be out and to spend quality time with my family and BONUS, it only cost us 5 bucks!  Grace is such a water baby so she, of course, LOVED it.

Our evening was spent grilling ribs and other goodies with G’s mom.  We had a good visit and my grill-master of a wife made an amazing meal.  It was a great way to end the long weekend and was a much needed reminder that while April and May have not been my favorite months, Georgia and I have an awesome family and that’s something to be thankful for. 

Here are a few pictures of our fun in the sun.  I hope you all had a great Memorial Weekend!













Summer Bucket List: Go swimming - check!

Friday, May 24, 2013

7-Layer Dip Cups

Looking for something delish to make for Memorial Day?  Well here it is – I promise you will not be disappointed!  I’m sure everyone reading this post has eaten some version of 7-layer dip before.  They all tend to taste the same with the exception of the seasoning one chooses to use.  The fun spin on my version is that you make individual servings of 7-layer dip for your friends and family, which adds a little something extra, if you ask me.  I made around 30 for a Cinco de Mayo party at work earlier this month, and even with the amount made it only took about an hour from start to finish.  My co-workers were so excited when I walked in with my platter of 7-layer dip cups and the dish turned out to be a hit! 

One suggestion I would make is to get shorter cups than the ones pictured in this Instagram photo I took.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but the cups I used were just a bit taller than the average plastic punch cups.  No biggie if you can’t find smaller ones, it’s just the bigger the cup, the more dip for one person.  Some of my work peeps said that the LOVED it but the serving size was a bit too much for them.  I personally took my leftovers home and enjoyed 7-layer dip again over the weekend.  The bonus to this recipe is that it’s just as good the following day. :)

If you try this recipe this weekend, I would love to hear how it turns out! 

Here is what you will need to make around 15 dip cups:

·         2 (16oz) cans of fat-free refried beans
·         5 cups of reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
·         1 (8oz) container of reduced fat sour cream
·         3 cups of guacamole (I just purchased premade guacamole and threw in some chunks of chopped avocado for texture)
·         2 cups of salsa
·         2 (2.5oz) cans of chopped black olives
·         1 cup chopped tomatoes
·         1 cup chopped onion 
·         15-20 small clear plastic cups
·         1-2 bags of blue corn tortilla chips      

To make your cups:

You will want to start with beans as your first layer.  From there you can decide how you would like to layer your ingredients.  Be sure to leave enough cheese to sprinkle on the top of each cup with your tomatoes, chopped olives, salsa and onion.  I scooped each ingredient into its own bowl for seasoning.  To add flavor to the guacamole, I added garlic salt and pepper.  To add flavor to the refried beans, I added salt and pepper.  Have FUN with this recipe because there really isn’t a way to mess it up.

Happy Memorial Day weekend! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Never say never…

Isn’t that how the saying goes?  As a mother I have come to learn that these words could not be truer!  I remember back when we first found out that Gracie was on the way, I had so many grandiose plans of who I would be as a mother.  I had it all figured out.  What parenting style I would follow, what kind of parents Georgia and I would be together, and of course there was my mental list of things I would absolutely never do as a mom and the things that were essential.  I had the perfect plan… and then Gracie arrived.  Life sure does have a funny way of showing you that you can plan and plan (and plan some more), but your baby blueprint tends to fly right out the window once the actual baby arrives.  I always swore that I would never…

Co-sleep.  It’s just too dangerous…


No sugar before one…


She will watch very little television and not too close to the TV…


I will not allow toys to take over our house…


It’s all about routine.  No staying up past bedtime…


No junk food allowed...


We must not overindulge.  We don’t want her to become spoiled…


Yes honey, I promise, she won’t be too girly…


She WILL behave…

  
Always the breast, never the bottle…


NO eating in the bed…


Safety first, always…


No standing on the furniture!


Oh, and she will be a mild-mannered, well-behaved little girl...


Moral of the story… never say never.  Some of my favorite memories as a mama were made while breaking my own rules.  ;)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

From Blog to BOOK!

I have been dying to share this post since our blog books arrived two weeks ago but as you may have read in recent posts, we’ve had a sick little gal and it has been crazy town up in here!  In any case, the exciting news is that our blog books are here and I finally managed to snag a moment of free time yesterday to photograph a few of the pages.  Woot, woot!

More Than Words Blog to Book ~ 2010


The purpose of this blog has, from the beginning, been my way of chronicling our baby making journey as well as Gracie’s “wonder years”.  I began searching for companies that turn blogs into books about two years ago but could not find anything legit.  The sites I came across either required that I release copyright privileges (so not happening) or I had to agree to share my personal information with anyone and everyone the company wanted to sell it to.  I felt very uncomfortable doing any of the above so I put the whole blog to book idea on the shelf.


As luck would have it, a friend from college posted the link to a company she planned to order blog books through, and from the look of the FB feedback following her comment, I discovered that several mutual friends had used the same company and were very please with their purchases!  This was so exciting for me because I had pretty much given up on the idea…. fast forward a few weeks and following a line-by-line review of the “terms of use” policy, I was ready to order.

More Than Words Blog to Book ~ 2011


Our books are BEAUTIFUL, really they are!  The quality is amazing – they have the binding and paper quality of high school yearbooks and we all know those last forever.  The picture color is the same as you would get ordering prints through companies like shutter.fly or Snap.fish and I LOVE that they offered tons of hardcover options to choose from.


I have been blogging since 2010, so I decided that it would be easiest to just order a separate book for each year (i.e. 2010 vol.1, 2011 vol. 2, etc.).  The company allows you to add a cover photo and a picture/message dedication on the introduction page.  There is a table of contents and you can even add a picture to the backside, which turned out super cute.  The total cost for the three books was right around $250.00 and each book was a different price because the price is dependent on the total pages ordered in each.

More Than Words Blog to Book ~ 2012


Eventually, I have every intention of making Grace a baby scrapbook.  I want to print actual photos and fill the pages with my own handwriting and the keepsakes we collected in her first year, I just have no idea when I’ll find the time to do it… I do LOVE scrapbooking and while I feel it has more of a personal touch than a made to order photo book, it is also so much more time consuming.  Considering the fact that our stinker is already 14 months and I have yet to start scraping her first year… who knows when it will happen, if ever?!


Our pregnancy pictures and the photos of Gracie’s first year are so incredibly important to both Georgia and I.  And while this is true, the stories of how we became a family are the most important to me.  None of us really know if blogger will be around in 30 years or if one day we may accidentally delete our blog.  We have no idea if the stories we’re writing each month about the small everyday things will be accessible when our kiddos are old enough to want to read them.  What I do know is that books live forever and when Grace is pregnant with her first baby and wants to know how our pregnancies were, or when she wants to read about how she did on her first day home from the hospital, I’ll take these books off the shelf, dust them off and read her the story of us.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy mamas day to us…

On this, our second mom(s) day, our afternoon was spent enjoying some delicious filet mignon, grilled scallops, fresh green beans, marinated shrimp, sautéed mushrooms and pie.  As I’ve bragged before, my wife is a master griller and a Mother’s Day menu doesn’t get much better than this!  My mom is in Vancouver, B.C. visiting my sister, so I was without her yesterday but Georgia’s mom was able to join us for lunch so we weren’t completely missing our mama bears.  Gracie was able to Skype with her Nani and auntie Missy yesterday morning and while I would love to share those pictures, we Skyped first thing in the AM, in our jammies sans any make-up or brushing of the hair… my mom and sis would kill me if I shared those pictures (even though they’re totally cute)!

Fast forward a few hours and…

Our evening was later spent cleaning baby vomit, mopping floors, washing clothing and bedding caught in the crossfire all while doing our best to bring Gracie’s fever down.  It was the weirdest thing, she was totally fine and just as happy as ever all morning and afternoon, but once the evening came she was suddenly sick.  My sweet girl had a bit of a fever right before she spilled her cookies but thankfully was able to finally fall asleep around 10pm.  Georgia and I tried to sleep as well but we were both too worried about what was going on with her to really get rest. 

Come 3am Gracie cried out so loudly it sent me flying out of bed and down the hall.  She was burning up and G was panicked.  We ran a tepid bath while calling our 24 hour nurse line and were told that they were getting slammed with calls by concerned parents of feverish babies.  Something is obviously going around and with all the family parties and entertaining we’ve been doing, who knows what got her sick? 

Our little gal was crying so hard she was covered in snot and I feared she was going to make herself sick again from just the crying alone.  Because of this, following her bath she came to bed with us.  She was too upset to sleep so we fed her small pieces of ice while we colored in bed.  By about 4:30am she was back asleep and Georgia and I were back to tossing and turning.  I had to wake 2 hours later to get ready for work and I am now at work doing my best to function on 4 hours of sleep...

The most important thing is that Grace is now doing much better.  She hasn't gotten sick again and her fever has gone back down.  They say that parenting is a 24/7, 365 day job and that definitely felt true for us last night.  I think it's safe to say, we've earned our Mother's Day survival badges. ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow mamas!


And a happy mamas day to all our friends in blogland trying to conceive.  As my favorite Journey song says, "Don't Stop Believing!"

Thursday, May 9, 2013

TTC #2: appointments, appointments!

Well, it’s begun! This week me and G had my new patient fertility appointment with Dr. C and it seemed to go really well.  I also had my first fertility acupuncture appointment but I’ll get to that in a bit.  The NP appointment consisted of a ton of paperwork, which I was expecting, as well as a meeting with our fertility doctor, Dr. C and his new nurse who I will call M.  I LOVED M!  The office was packed the afternoon we went in so the nurse consultation portion of our appointment with M took place in the staff kitchen, ha!  She was so great.  She totally took her time talking to us about our past experiences with TTC Grace and what to expect going forward with me.  I talked to her about my PCOS concerns and it turned out that she too has PCOS so she was a wealth of knowledge. 

The meeting with Dr. C was pretty short and quickly transitioned to my ultrasound and exam.  Dr. C said that I had a “beautiful uterus and lining”, which cracked us all up and the US showed quite a bit of follicles just chillin in my uterus.  G was totally shocked by that because she never seemed to produce more than 1-2 so compared to the 7-8 we saw on the screen it was a bit shocking!  I have 3 sets of multiples in my family (that I know of) so here’s hoping my many follicles are not a sign of things to come… 

We had the scare of our life at the end of the appointment as we met with the finance/benefits coordinator.  She reviewed our specialist co-pays and informed us that our new insurance (which our company switched to last year) did not cover fertility treatment as our previous insurance did with Grace.  She said it very matter-of-fact like it was no big deal and you seriously could have heard a pin drop as she reviewed everything we would have to pay out of pocket.  The thought of us not being covered hadn’t even dawned on me so the news was quite devastating.  I, per the usual, panicked.  Just last month me and G paid the last $8000.00 of Gracie’s medical bills so we literally have ZERO savings right now.  Because of this, as the coordinator went over everything all I heard in my head was – you’re not going to have another baby, EVER.

Thankfully Georgia is extremely level headed and asked me to wait until the following day after she talked to our insurance company before I panicked.  I followed her instructions and I’m glad I did.  The following day we spoke with our insurance company and the clinic several times.  They opened a review of everything and within a few hours we received the SUPER FANTASTIC news that 90% of my treatment would in fact be covered.  Thank you Jesus!  The miscommunication was due to human error on our clinics side.  Even though I was upset that we were put through 24 hours of extreme stress, I was just grateful that it worked out as I know this is not the case with so many gay families trying to conceive.  We are very fortunate in this regard.

My acupuncture appointment was yesterday and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to needles, so the thought of being poked a dozen times did not sound fun.  My acupuncturist specializes in fertility acupuncture and is the best in the state.  To this day both G and I swear that she is the reason we conceived Grace.  We’ve since referred 2 friends to her and they agree that she made it happen for them too.  Because of this I had to schedule my appointments 2 months ago just to get in to see her and I can now see why she is in such demand.  She completed a full evaluation of me and the only area that she said would need extra attention was my large intestine.  No shocker there… I’ve always had all sorts of digestive issues and I’m a stressor, which is not a good combo.  I only ended up needing 8 needles, which she said was a good thing.  After the appointment I told G about the 8 needles and she said she had around 15 her first time.  In this instance, I guess less is more. :)      

It’s been pretty awesome to get to share in this experience with G.  Not often do both parents get to experience conception and pregnancy on both sides of the fence as lesbian couples do.  I 100% appreciate the perspective this has given me and it’s awesome to have a person living in my house who I can ask my millions of questions to daily.  Poor Georgia, lol!

The game plan as it stands today is to concentrate on loosing at least 25 pounds between now and August (3lbs down this week, 22lbs to go).  I’m super determined and I believe I can do it.  Following my next period we’ll being charting my ovulation while continuing with a weekly fertility acupuncture session for the next 10 weeks.  It’s amazing how much more educated you are the second time around.  My hope is that all of these preparations and precautions we are taking now will result in baby #2, sooner than later.

Sending baby dust to all my fellow prego mamas out in blogland.  I look forward to joining you. :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Run for the ZOO


This past weekend my ma and I took the kiddos to our local Zoo fundraiser, Run for the Zoo.  I participated in this event from the age of 8 all the way up to my high school years and loved it!  The only reason I stopped participating in college was that, at that age, drinking and bar hoping seemed far more exciting than raising money for animals, ha!  I was so excited when my mom called to invite us to join her and my nephews and niece, and with G away helping her parents with home repairs, it was the perfect outing for me and baby girl.



Grace had the time of her life, seriously.  She was beaming with a smile from ear to ear from the moment we stepped out of my Jeep until we waived goodbye to all the animals and headed home.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, my daughter is a ham.  She will chat up anyone who will give her the time of day; she waves at anything moving and says hi all day long.  Our fellow Zoo runners were quite smitten with her charm, as were her cousins Rudy and Devin.

Grace doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth (I could barely get her to eat her birthday cupcake), but this picture is proof that you don’t need a popsicle to have a good time! ;)


After completing a 5-mile walk the weekend previous, we opted to do the 1-mile fun run/walk with the kiddos.  Devin was determined to run the mile, so with a little persuading, Rudy agreed to run with him and they were off.  My mamasita and I got some good quality time walking the mile with the girls while catching up on our gossip.  Our trek took us through the back of the Zoo where we got to see the baby elephant that was just born.  There was also a baby kangaroo and a baby giraffe!  With this being Gracie’s first Run for the Zoo, it turned out to be quite the baby palooza. :)


On the run… all day long!


With registration all participants received a t-shirt and admission into the Zoo following the walk.  Our walk began at 11am so we were starving by the time we finished and headed straight to the Zoo café for lunch.  Following lunch, we visited the polar bears, seals, monkeys, safari animals and birds before heading to the gift store.  Grace came home with a new Zoo book to add to her collection and a summer hat.  Our girl’s beautiful brain no longer fits in her 12 month hats so her new hat is very much needed this summer.


Even with the safety net, it made me extremely nervous to have Grace sitting up high with Nani while we checked out the gorillas!  The poor girl only got to enjoy this view for about 2 minutes, lol!
 

The last time Grace visited the Zoo she was only 2 months old so you can imagine what a difference a year made!  I literally had to chase her around the park the entire afternoon and with my ma chasing the other 3 kids and it just being me with Grace, it was a workout... We were both very ready for a nap when we got home.  I was pooped but it was worth it to hear the squeals that came out of my little gal.


I’m so looking forward to next year and I hope this is something we can do annually as a family for years to come!



Summer Bucket List: Visit the Zoo - check!

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