Monday, May 30, 2011

Bathtime: Then & Now

It's amazing how much he's changed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

We took Liam swimming for the first time today. The sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and Liam absolutely loved being in the water. I was a little worried that the pool would be too cold for him and that he would cry, but he was such a champ and had a great time. In fact, the only time he cried was when we took him out to go home!

  I'm so glad that he's comfortable in the water... floating, kicking and playing. He'll definitely sleep well tonight. We can't wait to take him back!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I should tell you...

Infertility is, unfortunately, no stranger to my real life circle of friends or family for that matter. One family member adopted, one used fertility treatments & two of my dear friends from college are currently struggling to get pregnant.

The first, has a beautiful two year old son—the result of her 3rd IVF. They’ve just started the journey of providing him a sibling & it’s already been a rough road.

The second, is not as open about her struggles. She and her husband are private people & while she would be willing to answer any question I asked, she does not openly discuss the issue. I do know that they’ve been trying to get pregnant since we started TTC, maybe before. I do know that she’s upset, frustrated, heartbroken that they have not been able to get pregnant so far. Her husband travels a lot for work, so they dismissed much of the first year and a half of trying as just bad timing. But I know that she knows, at this point, there’s something else going on. What I don’t know, is if/when they’ll pursue testing and treatment.

I don’t talk to her as often as I’d like… we live states away & seem to have completely opposite schedules. She doesn’t read the blog & since I’m not on FB (no clue if she is) we don’t keep up that way either. Our communication consists of a few phone calls a year…but even though we don’t talk often, she’s very dear to me and I would do anything to avoid hurting her.

I need to tell her I’m pregnant… and I absolutely dread it.
This girl is the sweetest, most selfless person I’ve ever known. She never puts herself first. Telling her I was pregnant with Liam wasn’t easy, but she was so happy that we were pregnant, I can honestly say that I doubt she even paused to consider the fact that she was not. (You know—the typical I’m happy for you but sad for me IF emotion? I don’t know how, but she doesn’t do that.) She was so happy for us, so glad we liked our RE, so glad the Clomid worked.

But a surprise pregnancy is a different beast.

It’s SO unfair. I know that this is on the major list of IF etiquette no-nos to say this… but I would have given anything for this pregnancy to have been hers instead of mine. She’s been so patient… she’s been so kind, and yet still, she waits. Of course, I’m thrilled about this baby… but I could have waited. She’s waited long enough.

She called me the other day & I stared at the phone ringing in my hand until it rolled over to voicemail. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t break her heart. I couldn’t tell her that, again, it’s someone else’s turn and not hers.

She’ll be happy for me, I know it, because that’s just who she is. But I just want so desperately to have the opportunity to be happy for her…for her to get her wish and bring home her baby.

I’ve decided to e-mail her instead of calling her. I hate doing it this way, but I think that giving her a chance to read the news and digest it however she needs to would be much better than putting her on the spot and forcing her to react over the phone.

So, friends, any words of advice as I write this difficult email? I’m hoping to focus primarily on talking about where they are in their journey, but this news needs to be shared before I get any further along… I don't want her to feel isolated by not sharing the news, but I dread it anyway.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Letters to Liam, 8 months

My Little Liam,

Happy 8 months! My big boy, you are so happy & so much fun to be around. You are constantly smiling and laughing. You giggle like crazy when we tickle you or give you an extra strong hug.

It’s getting warm outside & Daddy & I can’t wait to take you swimming! You seem to love the water so much—you splash and kick in your bath. Speaking of baths, we finally started bathing you in the big tub! You’ve outgrown the sink so we bought you a bath seat and you tried it out this morning. You loved the freedom of being able to sit on your own in the tub. Marmi & Poppy just rented a beach house in FL for August and we can’t wait to go there with them & Aunt Sandy and Uncle Eric!

You’re getting stronger and a little more stable at sitting up. You can sit for longer periods of time without tipping over but you still fall when you try to reach for a toy. You’re not crawling yet, but you’re trying! You lay on your tummy and kick your legs hard enough to get your knees underneath you—you just can’t quite figure out how to go anywhere.

Your fourth tooth (left central incisor) has come in & you are starting to look so different! What was once a gummy grin is now a smile full of adorable tiny teeth. (You’re definitely going to have a gap in the front just like Mommy & Daddy both did.) You’ve started using those teeth to chew little pieces of sweet potato puffs and yogurt bites. You’re eating like such a big boy and I can’t wait to introduce you to more new foods.

Your personality shows a little more each month. I think you are going to be cheerful, but laid back and maybe a little sensitive. I can already tell that you have Mommy & Daddy’s stubbornness though—you get so mad when we tell you no! You love pulling people’s glasses off their face, yanking on jewelry and throwing things. When we say “No!” your mouth makes a tight little “o” shape, then your bottom lip turn down and you start to scream. It’s hard not to laugh, it’s so cute.

I can’t believe all of the ways that you are growing and changing…I marvel at the awesome little boy you are becoming. So many people love you so much, but I love you most of all!

I love you, boo-boo.

And one extra-- a favorite outtake:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's a...


We went to the doc for our NT Scan today and everything looked great. Fluid at the back of the neck measured at 1.45mm, which is perfect. Baby was measuring 1 day ahead and was flipping around, kicking, arching back, waving, etc. It's so fascinating to see!

We let the tech know that we would love to find out the sex, if she could tell. Well, this baby was being incredibly modest (completely unlike Liam) and kept crossing its legs. We got little peeks for a split second, then the legs would cross again. Our tech was very patient and tried for about 15 minutes to get a good look, but baby just wasn't having it. Rob thought he saw something between the legs (his guess was boy) & while I saw what he saw, to me, it looked like the early stages of a developing girl. It didn't look like what Liam looked like at this stage.

After several of those short glimpses, she said, "Well, I have a guess. I think it's a girl." She made us promise not to hold her to that & when we asked how sure she was, she said, "About 75%." While there's no way to be sure yet, I feel like she's right. This pregnancy has been really different than my pregnancy with Liam (which I know doesn't necessarily mean anything) and my symptoms have followed all of the old wives tales for girls (also doesn't prove anything)... I could very well be wrong, but I really do believe it's a girl. Five weeks until we (hopefully) find out for sure.

Some pics from today:


Stretching-- back arched

Scary Face (right)

Everything else looked good! My weight was down 2lbs and blood pressure was a little high, but I believe it was just nerves from having an ultrasound. We'll have our next appointment around 18 weeks and have our anatomy scan done where (fingers crossed) we'll find out for sure if Liam will have a baby sister!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Share the Love: A Response

I want to thank everyone who commented on the Share the Love post that I wrote a few days ago about my sister in law's recent loss. The past few days have been very difficult for her, but she's been surrounded by people who love her. Barb read the post (and comments, yay!) tonight and asked me to post this response:

"thank you all so very much --you are more than kind to leave such supportive and loving words...we are doing ok. It is hard - oh, there are no words to describe of course...but my 2 other babies are my saving grace - they make me smile when I'm sad, they will keep me going and I cannot be more thankful for that...Stef & I have some very special memories, incredible stories and amazing connections on so many levels - I love her dearly and this post filled me with incredible humbleness and gratitude.  Thanks to you all - you give me strength to look forward...wish you all the best of everything... "

Thanks again, friends, for being a warm hug in a cold place. You're the best.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


"It’s in the Freezes Beautifully section of my cookbook and I want to take something that freezes beautifully."
- Annelle, Steel Magnolias

I couldn't get this quote out of my head all day, as I spent all afternoon in the kitchen. As I'm mourning the loss of one child, I'm preparing for the excitement of another-- My cousin's little girl is scheduled to arrive via induction next Monday if she doesn't decide to show up on her own before then.

One of the best ways I prepared for Liam's arrival was to stock the freezer (we actually bought a small chest freezer for this reason) with food that we could easily pull out and pop in the oven when we couldn't cook. Our family is amazing, and we had so many people stop by with food for the first few weeks, but of course that tapers off, then you're left exhausted and starving. 

So today, I whipped up some of our favorites-- half will go in our freezer and the other half, I'll deliver to my cousin's house tomorrow morning. With so many of you expecting babies (either through pregnancy or adoption) or already busy with your little ones, I thought that I'd share the recipes of some of our go-to meals-- not things we'd eat every night, but meals that are great to have on hand in a pinch. These all "freeze beautifully" and are relatively easy to make.

One tip: I usually make the recipe as directed, then split it into two portions. Hefty EZOvenWare 1.5 Quart Casserole pans work perfectly-- they come in packs of two, so just put half of the casserole in one and the rest in the other! Best part, no dishes to wash (if you're making the casserole for you) and no dish to track down (if you're making it for someone else.)

Chicken Spaghetti
(The Fav)
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 oz of spaghetti, vermicelli or angel hair (12 oz boxes are hard to find, so if you can only find a 16oz box, use 3/4 of it. If you use it all, it will be too dry.)
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1 can of evaporated milk (Pet Milk, 12 oz)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 4 slices of American Cheese
  • 3oz can of Parmesan cheese (This is the small skinny can)
  • Worcestershire Sauce to taste (about 1 Tbsp)
  • Garlic Salt & Cayenne Pepper to Taste (about 1 tsp)
  1. Cook your chicken, then cut into small pieces. (I like to saute mine in a pan, but you could bake, microwave or grill the chicken.)
  2. Prepare pasta according to directions
  3. In a saucepan, warm tomato soup, chicken broth, and milk
  4. Tear American cheese into small pieces and add to the soup slowly to melt
  5. Add half of the Parmesan cheese, stir to melt.
  6. Add Worcestershire Sauce, Garlic Salt & Cayenne Pepper
  7. In a greased casserole dish layer chicken, then spaghetti, then sauce.
  8. Mix everything together, then sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on top.
  9. Add some fresh ground pepper to taste.
*If you are going to freeze, go ahead and do this now. When you want to eat the casserole, either defrost at room temp for several hours or defrost in the microwave.*

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Poppyseed Chicken Casserole
(The Easiest)
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 8 oz carton of sour cream
  • 1 tube of Ritz Crackers (crushed)
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • Poppyseeds
  1. Cook the chicken, then cut into small pieces. (I like to saute mine in a pan, but you could bake, microwave or grill the chicken.) Spread across the bottom of a greased casserole dish.
  2. Mix both cans of soup with the sour cream in a bowl, then layer on top of the chicken.
  3. Spread Ritz crackers across the top.
  4. Drizzle melted butter on top of the crackers.
  5. Sprinkle Poppyseeds across the top. (Use as many or a little as you like-- I typically add about 2 Tbsp)
*If you are going to freeze, go ahead and do this now. When you want to eat the casserole, either defrost at room temp for several hours or defrost in the microwave.*

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


Broccoli Chicken Casserole
(The Old Standby)
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package of chicken flavored rice (I prefer Knorr Creamy Chicken-- used to be Liptons)
  • 1 package of frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 can of Cream of Celery Soup
  • 1 cup of Mayo (I prefer low-fat)
  • 1 tube of Ritz crackers (crushed)
  • 1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Prepare rice according to instructions, then spread evenly at the bottom of a greased casserole dish.
  2. Cook your chicken, then cut into small pieces. (I like to saute mine in a pan, but you could bake, microwave or grill the chicken.)
  3. Cook your broccoli according to the directions. (I usually toss mine into a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes.)
  4. Combine chicken and broccoli into a bowl and mix.
  5. Combine both cans of soup & mayo in a separate bowl.
  6. Take half the chicken/broccoli mixture and layer in casserole dish on top of the rice. Layer half of the soup mixture.
  7. Repeat with remaining chicken/broccoli, then the rest of the soup mix.
  8. Cover the top with shredded cheese.
*If you are going to freeze, go ahead and do this now. When you want to eat the casserole, either defrost at room temp for several hours or defrost in the microwave.*

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. During the last 10 minutes in the oven, sprinkle the Ritz crackers on top. 


Chicken Tortilla Soup
(So easy, so good)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 4oz can of green chilis
  • 15oz can of Italian Style stewed tomatoes
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of lemon pepper, cumin, chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. In a soup pot, saute onion, and garlic in oil until they soften
  2. Add chilis and tomatoes, use a wooden spoon to break them up
  3. Add chicken broth and all spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer 10-15 minutes
  4. While soup is simmering, cut raw chicken into small pieces
  5. Turn up soup again & bring to a boil
  6. Add (raw) chicken and boil until chicken pieces are cooked through.
  7. Freeze. (When serving, top with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, tortilla strips.)

I don't have much time to cook & I'm sure many of you don't, either. Hope that these help out with dinner!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Share the Love

I really love my sister in law.

Rob has always been extremely close to his little sister. They grew up only a year and half apart and went through a lot in their childhood together. When I met her, we really hit it off and our relationship has grown over the past 2 ½ years.

By Fall 2009, we were both trying to get pregnant. It took her less time than it did for us, but in Jan 2010 when I called to tell her I was pregnant she told us she was thrilled then shared with us that she was pregnant, too. Going through the pregnancy together last year was so much fun—we commiserated about our symptoms, we checked in after every doctor’s appointment, we took a fantastic vacation together & we talked though the birth of our kids.

Then a little over 2 months ago, I got a call from her, letting me know that (surprise!) she was pregnant again. A few hours later, she got a call from me, sharing the same news. We’ve been so excited to go through this together again—we’ve talked about names, symptoms, doctor’s appointments and how we’re going to manage it all.

Barb had her 14 week doctor’s appointment yesterday morning & learned that she lost the baby.

She’d been spotting for a few days, but nothing that really caused concern. When she got to her appointment, her doctor couldn’t feel her uterus. She was sent for an ultrasound & found out the devastating news: The sack measured at 10 weeks & the baby measured 8w1d with no heartbeat. Today, she’s having a D&C.

We’re all shocked & heartbroken.

She called me yesterday morning and as soon as she got the words out, we were both in tears. After two children that were easily conceived and (relatively) easily carried, she had no reason to believe that she would have any problem with this pregnancy.

I’m hurting for her. Both of us were surprised by our pregnancies and have struggled a little bit with how we’re going to handle children that were not in “the plan.” But as the weeks have passed, we’ve both grown attached to these babies (probably more than we realized). I can’t even imagine what this late loss feels like… I can only imagine that it feels like her heart has been ripped out of her chest.

I hate that she’s joining this community.

Women who have an easy time conceiving, who carry healthy babies and have uncomplicated births will never know the hurt, anxiety, pain, fear and heartache that women who have faced infertility and loss experience. My sweet sister-in-law had never experienced those emotions related to her fertility…until now. Now she’s stuck here with the rest of us… blaming herself, mourning her loss, wondering if she did something wrong & why her body has betrayed her. In short, she’s suddenly been thrust into the place that some of us have been stuck for years. I. Hate.It.

I wish there was a way to ensure that none of my friends or family EVER went through this. But she is.

So friends, I ask you, if infertility or loss has touched your life, will you please leave a comment for Barb? She reads this blog and can use all of the support she can get right now…and will for a while. She has no idea how amazing this community can be in tough times…I wish she didn’t need to know, but I’d love to show her how unbelievably supportive this group of women can be… I don’t know where I’d be without you guys and I hope she can find the same comfort I do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

12 weeks

I was 12 weeks pregnant yesterday & even though I know I won't be meticulous about weekly bump pics this pregnancy, I do want to make sure I take them from time to time.

I'm showing much earlier this pregnancy than I did with Liam-- I regularly make the joke that I never really stopped showing. Over the past two weeks or so, I've seen a noticeable shift in the shape of my body & I can tell the baby belly's coming. See for yourself:

These pics were taken at night, so I'm a bit bigger than I typically am when I first wake up, thanks to the 1st tri pregnancy bloat. But it's there, and pretty comparable to where I was around 17 weeks with Liam. No weight gain, thank goodness, just belly.

Excited that our NT Scan is less than a week away, but even more excited that one of my college BFFs is coming tomorrow. We haven't seen each other in 2 1/2 years & once I get my arms around her, I may never let her go! She's never seen our house or met Liam so I hope to pack as much quality time into her 24 hour visit (Boo! Wish she could stay longer!) as possible. I'm really grateful that I've started feeling better (bye-bye morning sickness, for the most part!) so that we can really enjoy our time together. Will try to post pics after the visit!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Recap

Yesterday was a fantastic day-- full of food, family and some fun surprises.

Rob got up with Liam in the morning so that I could sleep in & made a run to Starbucks to bring me back a treat!

I went to brunch with my boys and my family and Liam was so excited to give Marmi (my mom) this mug that he made for her with his footprint! She loved it, of course.

I got a lovely surprise in a little blue box from Rob & Liam:

And an adorable baby carriage charm from my parents:

I got to spend some time with my brother and soon-to-be SIL (!!! There hasn't been an official proposal yet, but they are already starting to plan the wedding for next May. It's coming!) who came down from Nashville for the weekend. (And who also gave me a card and a Starbucks gift card. So sweet!)

L to R: My brother Eric, his fiancee Sandy, my mom, my dad, me, Liam & Rob.

After brunch, we brought Liam home for a nap & Rob stayed with him so that I could run out and get some flowers for our porch. It was so nice to be able to pick out what I wanted without having to bring Liam along!

And that, was my first official Mother's Day!

It was a wonderful day, but I had so many ladies on my mind... ladies that I knew weren't spending this day the way they dream they one day will. To all of you still waiting for your babies, Iam hoping that this is the last Mother's Day you'll spend with your children in your hearts instead of your arms. I know how lucky I am... more than once I looked at Liam and said, " I love you so much. Thank you for making me a mom."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Birds & The Bees...& the Flying Ant!

Wow, I've been a really crappy blogger...for the past month. I've wanted to update, but I just haven't felt like I've had anything post-worthy to talk about. I promise, I'm going to try to be better.

Baby Blakely (The Sequel) is doing great. I'm halfway through my 11th week and the morning sickness seems to have let up over the past few days. I'm still pretty tired, but not the 1st Tri coma that I had with Liam. No weight gain yet, but definitely feel like my belly is bigger than it was at 11 weeks last time-- feels like I'm about a month further along. I was able to use my doppler to find the heartbeat last week and our NT Scan is scheduled for Monday, May 16th. I'm so hopeful that we might find out the sex then. Want to guess? Vote in my poll on the sidebar!

On to a cute conversation I had with my aunt & cousin when we had lunch together last week...

Background info: My cousin (who's 6) was busy playing with Liam and I didn't think she was paying attention-- My aunt and I were talking about my cousin Memo's upcoming delivery (She's due in 3 weeks!). I mentioned something about bleeding after the birth, and my cousin looked at me, clearly alarmed.

Cousin: "You were bleeding when Baby Liam was born?"

Me: "Yes. Just a little bit, but it wasn't too bad."

Cousin: "Where were you bleeding?"

Me: (Silence...looking to aunt) "You want to take this one?"

Aunt: "Do you remember where we talked about babies coming from?"

Cousin: "Out of mommy's tummy?"

Me: "Well, sometimes babies come out of their mommy's tummy..."

Aunt: "Do you remember the special place we talked about? The special place that's just for babies?"

Cousin: (blinking... looking expectantly at her mother.)

Me: (looking back and forth between the two of them)

Aunt: (giving me the side eye)

Cousin: (silent for what feels like forever, then suddenly looking up at a tree overhead.)

"Look!! A Flying Ant!!!!!"


We started laughing so hard & my sweet little cousin had no idea what was so funny. God help me when I have to explain the birds & the bees to Liam!