Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where's Roc - and Sean?

Sean fell aseep under the couch cushions on the floor last week. And all of a sudden I am finding kids and dogs asleep under cushions all the time.

The first pictures are of Roc - if he wasn't snoring I am not sure that I would have known where he was! Brian and Sean were both at school, and I have more things to do than to build a fort for a dog. So, I am not entirely sure how he got under them all. He has been known to use his nose and flip one cushion up and then get under it to fall asleep. He loves to be coverd up when he sleeps - under pillows and blankets and anything else he can find. His favorite place to sleep is inbetween Brian Sr.'s legs under the covers! He is a crazy dog - fits in well with our family!

Can you find him?
close up
Then later that night, Sean and Brian were watching a movie and Sean fell asleep burried in cushions. I helped him to do this, so at least I know how he got covered up!
sleeping with old and new Blankies

so sweet

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I got a phone!

Sean had his half-birthday celebration at school today. The reason he got a half-birthday is because his birthday is in August and not in school at that time. Before I had trouble getting pregnant I had the birthdays all figured out. I didn't want my kids born on or near a major holiday. There would be no late summer or early fall birthdays because of school and sports cut-offs. They would all be two years or less apart. I could go on and on. Then when things didn't happen as they should, I didn't care when the birthday would be. I wanted to be pregnant and the other parts of my dreams no longer mattered.

Sean got a cool hat and a birthday song. His preschool had Chapel time each morning. And while there, he gets to sit up front in a big chair as the rest of the school sings to him. Then he gets to pick a favorite song to sing. I got to go in and watch him during this. It was really cute. And, of course, it made me tear up. Every time they do some kind of performance, I have to fight back tears. I get them during sporting events. I get them during school shows. I get them when they break out of their shells. I am one proud momma!

I really thought that the crying would end as they got older. At first I blamed it on hormones and them being babies. Seven years later and I still fight tears all the time. The first day of school. The last day of school. Learning to walk. Learning to ride a bike. First words. Building a block tower for the first time. Answering the phone for the first time. Sleeping in the top bunk. Sleeping through the night. Being potty trained. Writing their names. Self feeding. Singing in public.

He got to bring in Munchkins from Dunkin Doughnuts! Sean also got to eat a doughnut on the way to school. He always used to like chocolate and now has moved onto glazed. He only wants glazed donuts and glazed Munchkins. Not glazed cake, just glazed. I once made that mistake and never will again!

Sean - Mom look I got a phone!
Me - Where did you get that?
Sean - Reilly gave it to me and I showed him my penny.
Me - Are you borrowing it?
Sean - No he gave it to me. And the teachers didn't even see (laughing)
Me - It is not good to trick your teachers.
Sean - I didn't trick them, they just didn't look. They didn't know I had a penny in school either! Brian - He is lucky. My teacher sees things even when she isn't looking or is in the hallway. She was out there talking to another teacher and some kids were running around. One girl I didn't think would ever run in school and one boy. My teacher came back in and knew who was running. She sees everything. That's why I don't run around.
Sean - laughs - Well, my teachers are not that smart!

sitting in the chair for Happy Birthday song

back in his classroom

***edited to add***When I took Sean to school on Friday, I told the teachers he had Reilly's phone. They then told me that it wasn't Reilly's phone but that it belonged in the classroom. He is in so much trouble!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I wish

It is funny how the craziest things in life can make you jealous. I recently found out about a friend of a friend who is expecting with one of those 'surprise pregnancies'. She has a few older children and definitely wasn't planning this pregnancy. I cannot even begin to imagine how great a surprise pregnancy would be.

I am not jealous to the extent that I cannot be happy for that person or for anyone else in a similar situation. Maybe jealous is not the right word. It could be envy or desire. I do know that I wish that those who have never experienced infertility or loss could better understand what some people have to go through. My life would have been easier in many aspects if I had not had to deal with infertility and loss, but looking back I wouldn't change who I am or any of my experiences.

It would be great if some of the 'fertile myrtles' would realize what a blessing it is to be pregnant without even trying. If those that have been blessed with fertility could somehow understand that comments about how much they hate being pregnant and how much they don't think they can handle one more baby can hurt so many people. There are so many women that would give up everything for morning sickness and sore backs. They would gladly welcome labor pains and a baby with colic. They dream about feedings at 2:00 am and cannot wait to smell poopy diapers.

I know because I was once one of those women. And then at the same time I don't know because I now have three beautiful boys. But I will never and do not ever want to forget. I am part of a special and wonderful group of women. And I am proud of it. There is something about infertility and loss that bonds women together. A sisterhood is formed that unties women from all walks of life. No matter how different we look or what languages we speak, we are all the same. We understand even when no words are spoken. We experience things together - it is like a never ending chain that links us all together. When something happens along one link of the chain, we are all, in some way, affected.

I often cry tears of sadness and joy. Some of which are for women that I know. Some of which are for women that I have never met in person. Some of which are for women that I don't know at all. I check different blogs and my e-mail a few times a day when I know someone is taking a pregnancy test, or getting an ultra sound or other infertility test. This is because I know at any given time that there are women of the world experiencing the effects of infertility - some ecstatic and some devastating, but all life changing.

I cannot even begin to imagine what life without infertility would be like. No stress. No doctor’s appointments ten times a month. No one and half inch needles. No two week wait. No sore injection sites. No obsessing about every little twinge or cramp. No symptoms to second guess yourself about. No money spent. No disappointments. No fear. No HSG (dye test). No pills. No transvaginal ultrasounds on day 3 of your cycle. No injection bruises on your belly, bottom, and thighs. No worrying about estrogen, progesterone, LH, and FSH levels. No counting of follicles. No scrutinizing uterine lining measurements and looking for the triple-line phase. No retrieval surgery. No laparoscopic surgery. No hysterosalpingogram. No scars from blood draws every few days. No waiting for doctors and nurses to call with results. No wondering if any of your eggs will fertilize correctly. No Lupron. No genetic testing. No counseling. No miscarriages. No PIO shots. No wondering. No Hoping. No tears. No disappointments. No screaming.

To wake up one day and feel a little different. To casually glance at a calendar with a puzzled look. To not remember what day your period was due. To figure out what day your period was due, and then realize that you are four days late. To think that you should probably buy a pregnancy test one day soon. To wonder how you could have forgotten your period was late. I can only dream...

At the same time, I cannot imagine my life without infertility and loss. I have such a love for my kids and will never take them for granted. (This does not, by any means, mean that they don't drive me crazy sometimes. They are kids after all.) I spend as much time as I can with them. I sometimes walk the line between being protective and being crazy. They are an extension of me - my heart is running around in three little bodies. Out there. Exposed. Vulnerable.

Sometimes I just stare at them. I have to be careful though, because if I stare too long I start to cry. I cry tears of happiness for how much I love them. I cry tears for the journey it took to get them here. I cry tears for the ones that I lost. This is why I like to watch them sleep; then the tears can stream down my face and I don't have to explain myself to anyone. I can just love them and let my heart spill over. I cannot believe they are mine. I cannot believe that I have one child, let alone three. There was a time when I had almost convinced myself that I would have none.

Before I had kids, pregnant bellies would make me smile through my tears. Now I smile and remember my own belly. The same emotions happened when I saw babies. Even now, I find myself staring at pregnant women and babies. I wonder about their stories. I still do get pangs of jealousy when I see twins. I have accepted the loss of Justin’s twin, but like all of the other miscarriages, I will always wonder what might have been. I am pretty sure that I am not alone in feeling this way.

Infertility did and still does reach to the core of who I am as a woman and has tested me in ways that I never knew were possible. I did survive and came out of the battle with three wonderful boys. I know that not all women are as fortunate. And that fact breaks my heart. So, on top of some jealousy, I also feel some guilt. Why was I one of the lucky ones? There are so many questions that I will never have answers to. To all those still battling infertility - I am thinking of you. I promise to never forget. I wish I could hug all of you, because some things just cannot be expressed in words.

I have to end with a disclaimer of sorts. These are my opinions and my feelings. I am not trying to speak for all of those who have experienced infertility and/or loss - and I do not try to completely understand what each individual has or is going through. I also don't mean to imply that those without infertility problems do not cherish their kids or appreciate their pregnancies. I know that some do. It is not my intention to upset or hurt anyone. I just wish that more people were compassionate about this issue, and that they thought before they spoke. I wish that more people realized how hard it can be for some people to get and then stay pregnant.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Google Searches

I have been reading some blogs that also use to track visitors to their blog. When visitors use a google search the keys words used come up on the tracking list. Some of them are too funny and I cannot believe that people actually type those things! Here are some of my favorites:

-why does us money have presidents on it (ask Sean)

-hide and seek saying (olly-olly-oxen-free)

- a girl smelling a boys fart (a boy must have typed this)

- peeing rain boots ( I didn't know rain boots were capable of that)

- kym kim spelling (If you can spell it why google it?)

- I like bananas with brown spots (yuck!)

- foohey big monkey head eraser (these goofy things are so popular)

- how to tell when a kid has to pee (um, maybe the crying and jumping and squeezing of parts)

- rice cereal watery (Yum!)

- cool excitement saying (can't think of your own way to be excited?)

- pee pee bottle (who says pee-pee?)

- boys who have peed next to a playground (do they want a list of names?)

- justin's icute justin i good justin is mine (huh?)

- cow chopsticks ( cow shaped or for use by cows?)

- chocolate clown (will it replace the bunny?)

- pork roll pictures (why?)

- banana strings (just pull them off)

- bird invasion (try an exterminator?)

- kids peed in car how to clean (take to car wash)

I really wonder what goes on in some people's heads. I have so many searches related to pee - in a bottle, in the car, on the golf course etc! I also get a lot about bananas with spots and strings and peels! The next most popular is a search for the Foohy erasers. For the record I do also get some normal searches for infertility and adoption. I love the tracking information, it is so much fun to see who visits and how they got there. It makes me realize that people are viewing the blog - I cannot tell if they actually read it. I had very few hits at first and now I seem to be getting more and more! It is exciting as a blogger to know people are visiting and that you are not just talking to yourself by way of a keyboard!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Book Hands

Brian finished his Reading Olympics last week and read 140 books in five weeks. I gave him a little break and then we had this conversation last night.

Me - Brian, why don't you pick a book and read to Justin.
Brian - No thanks. (at least he was polite!)
Me - I think you need to start reading again. The more you practice the easier it will be and the better reader you will become.
Brian - I really can't. I read so many books for the Olympics that it always feels like my hands are holding a book - even when I'm not.

Now that has to be an original excuse for getting out of reading a book!

A Rare Nap

I think Sean was worn out today from hangin' with the big boys last night! One minute he was watching TV and then the next minute he was asleep. And he was naked! He told me he was cold so he got naked - great logic! He then burried himself under the couch cushions and made himself a little bed. He slept like this for about two hours.

Sean finally woke up when I asked Brian is he wanted to go to Walmart with me. When he heard Walmart, his head popped up and he started crying. He was crying because he thought that we were going to leave without him. No, he doesn't like to go to Walmart for the the rollback prices or the blue light specials. He likes it because they have Icees! He loves Icees and would do just about anything for one. He always gets Cherry. Brian likes Icees too - but not as much as Sean. I think Sean just likes really cold things. When he eats a popsicle, he bites it and eats it so quickly. Maybe his brain is beyond freezing! I don't know how he does it. I hope that one day he grows out of his dairy allergy and can enjoy ice cream too!
Can you find Sean?

a closer vie

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Brian's Party

Brian had a flag football party at a local party center. They have an indoor field and the kids all had a great time. There was also a giant slide, a fun zone play place, and video games. Brian scored two touchdowns and Sean even scored one. We didn't have the heart to tell him it was in wrong end zone - he was so excited and proud. I know with all the running around that the kids would be ready for bed that night.

After the kids played, we had pizza and a football field cake. Brian got a lot of great presents and loved everything that he got. He was especially excited about the cash since he and Sean are saving for a Nintendo Wii! I knew a few weeks ago that they would probably have enough money after his birthday. So, I had been looking for a Wii for weeks. I was calling places and checking online and going to stores when they opened! The things parents go through to get things for their kids. I just didn’t want them to be upset when they finally saved enough money and then there was no Wii to be found for weeks or even months! I didn’t want them to suffer because some company was taking advantage of the law of supply and demand.

Then I was at an office supply store making copies of the PTA newsletter for Brian's school. While the copies were being run off, I ran next door to Toys R Us to make a return. I asked the woman if she knew if they would be getting any Wiis in anytime soon. I knew I had an apologetic look on my face, I cannot imagine how many times a day she gets asked the same question. To my surprise, she told me they had just gotten a shipment of three of them a few minutes ago. I told her I wanted to buy one and she handed it to me from behind the counter! I was so exited! I still cannot believe that they are still in such high demand even two months after the holidays!
Oh - another big event for Brian's birthday - Justin got his fourth tooth. It was the top middle one on his right! Now we can't call him fang anymore!

playing flag football

getting wrist bands

Brian ready to play

Justin wearing his jersey

Brian's cake

Sean caught in the act

Brian ready to blow out his candles

Sean on the giant slide

After the party, Brian got to pick a few friends to sleep over. For most of them, it was their first sleepover! They came over and watched Brian open his presents. After that they decided to wrestle with Brian Sr. - what fun is a sleep over without a little time to beat up a Dad! The boys ate popcorn and gummy bears and chocolate covered pretzels. At about 9:30 pm we told them to get into their sleeping bags and put in a movie. It took forever for all six of them to agree on something to watch. They finally agreed on Superman - the old one with Christopher Reeve.

Being that they were all four to seven year old boys, they had a good laugh at the beginning scenes where Superman came to Earth as a baby. You know where he was a baby - and NAKED! Not much is funnier to them than being naked - well maybe bathroom humor. When they started laughing about nakedness, Sean decided that he could be funny too and took off his pjs. But, they didn't think that he was funny being naked and pretended to shield their eyes form him! After seeing the naked baby, Brian's friend Jerry asked, "What kind of movie is this anyway?" I was laughing so hard.

The boys ended up staying up until a little after 11:00 pm and the first few were awake at about 6:15 am! Yikes! I am glad that Brian Sr. slept in the living room with them and I could sleep until about 7:30 am when Justin woke up. I made them all Belgium Waffles and then we took them to basketball practice. All of them were full of energy and no one would have ever known that they barely got seven hours of sleep the night before.

wrestlinggroup shot

Friday, February 22, 2008

Brian's 7th Birthday!

I always say that I cannot believe how big Justin is getting. Well this time I cannot believe that Brian is seven years old! How in the world do I have a seven year old! The time has gone by so quickly! Brian has grown up a lot over the past year. He has become an excellent reader and is writing better too. I can see improvements in just about everything that he does.

He is more stubborn than any kid I know. He has a mean temper and likes to win. He is motivated and driven. He is a people pleaser and usually makes the right choices. He is very coordinated and loves to play sports. He is kind and caring and compassionate. He has a lot of great friends. He is a good big brother. He likes to help. He does well in school. He is a risk taker. He is afraid of any of the things that kids are usually afraid of. He loves sports jerseys. He likes to pretend that he famous sports figures. He likes to watch ESPN. He loves chocolate, meatballs, ham, and roast beef hoagies.

I love Brian more than I could ever express. I really understand him because we are alike in so many ways. I like to go into his room at night and just watch him sleep. Sometimes it all sees surreal and I cannot believe that I am his mom. We have some great talks and I love getting to know the person that he is becoming. He has his own thoughts and ideas about the world and sometimes I am lucky and he shares them with me. Thanks Brian for the joy that you bring to my life!

He loved all of his presents and I let him open them before school since he got ready with so much time to spare. He said his favorite gift was a pair of football cleats! He did like the jerseys too. I never thought that by age seven that my kid would be close to growing out of Toys R Us. He is having a harder and harder time picking out things every time we go in there with a gift card.

Brian did get another gift for his birthday - snow! Which is neat because we have not had very much of it at all this year. It did snow with an inch or two of accumulation a few weeks ago, but it was at night and most of it was gone by the next morning. This is the first time that they got to run around in it and they only had a few minutes before school. It is a good thing that I kept the tags on their snow pants!

the morning of his birthday
Brian Westbrook jersey
LeBron James jersey
Brian in the snow!
Sean in the snow

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Presidents and Money

Sean came home from school today with a wealth of information. He picked up a one and a five dollar bill from on the table.

Sean- I know these guys! My teachers are rich they had lots of dollars and circle money today.
Me - Really? What did you learn about money?
Sean - There were people with birthdays in February on them.
Me - Yes there are. Who were the people?
Sean - I dunno.
Me - Were they kings or football players or monkeys?
Sean - No, they were presidents.
Me - What were their names?
Sean - I forget.
Me - George Washington and Abraham Lincoln?
Sean - How did you know!
Me - I learned in school and from my mom and dad.
Sean - Can I have these dollars? (He and Brian are saving for a Wii)
Me - No but if you want to do some chores you can earn them.
Sean - No thanks!
(a few minutes later)
Sean - Hey Mom...
Me - Yes Sean.
Sean - It is a good thing we had presidents because if we didn't have presidents then we wouldn't have any money. And we need money to buy toys - and video games!

I love his logic - if Abe and George never existed, then we would not have money. Makes perfect sense! Just when I think he is learning he has to throw a loop in it. Just for fun - can you name all the people on current US currency? I had to look up some of them - sad!

Abraham Lincoln is on the penny, Thomas Jefferson on the nickel, Franklin Roosevelt on the dime, George Washington on the quarter, John F. Kennedy on the half dollar, Sacagawea on the dollar coin. Starting this year until 2016, the mint is making new dollar coins. They will have presidents on them and be released in the order in which they served. In 2009 some quarters will also feature Native Americans and their improtant contributions this will continue until at least 2016.

George Washington is on the $1 bill, Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill, Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill.

There are also several denominations of currency notes that are no longer produced. These include the $500 bill with William McKinley, the $1,000 bill with Grover Cleveland, the $5,000 bill with James Madison, the $10,000 bill with Salmon P. Chase, and the $100,000 with Woodrow Wilson.

What you have never heard of Salmon P. Chase? - Me either! Salmon P. Chase is one of only three non-presidents on paper money. The other two are Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill and Ben Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill. I searched on the United States Mint web page and found out about Salmon. He was the 25th Secretary of the Treasury and served under Lincoln. Due to a monetary crisis brought on by the Civil War, he reluctantly implemented the first federal printing of paper money in the United States. He is also responsible for the moto "in God we trust." In fact, Chase's portrait appeared on the original $1 bill, thus earning him the nickname "Old Mr. Greenbacks." The name didn't stick, however, due to the fact that after the war, Chase, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, declared paper currency to be unconstitutional. How funny is that!

Here are some other interesting facts that I took form the US Treasury website. If you want to read for yourself go to It is very interesting and gives a lot of pictures and history on our currency.

1. In 1975 and 1976, the standard eagle design on the reverse was temporarily replaced to honor the Nation’s Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The reverse of the Bicentennial Quarter shows a colonial drummer and a victory torch circled by 13 stars, representing the original thirteen colonies that were referenced in the Declaration of Independence. Interestingly, it is impossible to tell a quarter minted in 1975 from one minted in 1976 – as only Bicentennial Quarters were made for those two years, and all are marked with the same 200-year date range (1776–1976)
2. Why does the portrait of Abraham Lincoln face to the right when all of the other presidents' portraits face to the left? Lincoln faces right not because of a law, but simply because Lincoln happened to face right in the image Brenner used to design the coin.

3. The Roosevelt dime was released on the late President's birthday which was January 30th of that year.

4. The first quarters, made in 1796, featured a depiction of Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. There was no denomination on the coin. In fact, there was no value marked on quarters until 1804, when "25c" was added to the reverse. In 1838, "QUAR. DOL." was used, and then changed to “quarter dollar” in 1892, and the denomination was consistently located on the reverse of the coin. It wasn't until the first of the new quarters was made in 1999 that "quarter dollar" was moved to the front.

5. The design on the back of Kennedy half-dollar is based on the presidential seal. It consists of a heraldic eagle with a shield on its breast, holding a symbolic olive branch and a bundle of 13 arrows. A ring of 50 stars surrounds the design, which gives this coin the distinction of having more stars than any other circulating coin.

I find stuff like this fascinating. I love little know facts. Maybe I have totally bored some people, but I hope there are a few that have learned something - and are happy about it!

Football Pads and Jerseys

In school, Brian's teacher has them write letters to people to practice writing and spelling. Brian decided to write a letter to his cousin Joe. Joe will be attending the NFL combines at the end of the week and he wanted to wish him well. The letter reads:

Dear Joe,
I hope you have a good time at the combine on Febuary 22, and my birthday I will be seven years old.
Love, Brian

the letter - he only mispelled February!

It was so sweet! Joe's flight leaves very early tomorrow morning, so we went over to his house to wish him well. Brian was in for a treat! He got to try on Joe's helmet and got it stuck on his head. It took three different people to get it off! Then he asked to see one of Joe's jerseys - one that he wore in a real game. He got to see the one from the Skills Challenge. Then his Aunt Karen asked if he wanted to try on the jersey. His eyes lit up and he let her help him slide it over his head. It covered his whole body and looked more like a dress than a football jersey!

He saw Joe's shoulder pads and wanted to try them on to. His Aunt Karen was so great and helped him out of the jersey, into the pads, and then back into the jersey again! He remained pretty calm but I know that this was one of his best days ever! Then she pulled out things from Joe's travel bag - Under Armour towels, bicep bands, skull caps, forearm sleeves, and many more things. She gave a few things to Brian and he tried them on. Then she told him he could have them and Brian was so excited that I think time stood still for him!

He got to have a catch with Joe - yes in the house! The boys got to wrestle with their cousin Tom and had a great time trying to beat him up! I bet they will sleep great tonight! Brian, Sean, and Justin all gave Joe a high five as we left and wished him good luck at the combines.

Brian wearing Joe's stuff-
the smile says it all!so happyjersey tucked in with the towel hangingJoe helping him out of the pads
(I think he secretly wished to be stuck!)

Sean was in on the fun a little but isn't as into sports as Brian is. He liked the wrestling and pillow fighting more. I was surprised that he didn't even ask to try on the jersey -maybe next time!Justin did get into the excitement by playing in Joe's equipment bag. He was laughing and having a great time. The tag on the outside with Joe's name on it was of particular interst to him. What is it with babies and tags? The bag was so big and deep that I could have fit Brian, Sean, Justin, and Roc in it with room to spare. Of course I wouldn't be able to carry it - but they would fit!

Justin playing with the name tag

looks like he is reading the tag!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Calendar Camouflage

All I can say is - Sean does it again. I thought that maybe his wall drawing days were over. The last time was a doozie - if you missed it, you can read it here. I was writing something on the calendar in the kitchen and flipped a page to look at March. As I did this, I noticed something on the wall when the calendar moved. There it was - pencil scribble hidden behind the calendar!

I didn't need to question anyone, I knew it was Sean. Brian has never, ever drawn on the walls or furniture or anything else he wasn't supposed to draw on! I guess when Justin gets a little older I may have some interrogations to do. But due to the difference in their ages and even if Justin takes more after Sean than Brian, I should still be able to figure out who did what!

So, I called him into the kitchen and told him to look at the calendar.

Sean - What do you want me to do?
Me - Move the calendar and look behind it
Sean- I don't want to see behind it. (he knew I was onto him)
Me - Why, Sean?
Sean - Because I want to wear boots and play golf.
Me - (wondering if at age four if he has already mastered changing the subject) Sean?
Sean - Ooops. It was an accident. Sorry, Mom.
Me - How are you going to get the pencil off the wall?
Sean - I dunno. Wait! Be right back!
(he returns with a pencil)
Sean - Look I can just erase it! No problem lady.
Me - (holding back laughter - lady?) Okay. Did you draw anywhere else?
Sean - Nope. We only have one calendar on the walls.

I guess it is a good thing that we only have one calendar hanging up on the wall. The pencil eraser worked a little and after he made his best effort, I let him go back to playing. The rest of the pencil came off with a Magic Eraser - I don't know what I would do without them! They helped with Sean's last wall mural and I am sure they will come in handy in the future. The inventions that make my life easier are wonderful, I just wish I had thought of even one of them first - and got the patent to the idea!

Luckily there have not been any more potty wipe incidents! I hope that I did not just jinx myself! As I am typing this I wonder if his logic of hiding his artwork has been applied to things other than calendars. I think I had better check behind the pictures and mirrors and other things hanging on the walls. Just in case...

Sean looking at the calendarsurprise!erasing the 'artwork'

Justin's First Car

Justin got one of his birthday presents a few months early. I had some gift cards saved up and I think I was inspired by the warm day yesterday and the clean garage in which I can now keep the car. Justin was very excited - almost too excited by the tools! He kept trying to steal the screw driver. Didn't he understand that without the screwdriver I couldn't finish putting together his car!

Justin even wore a coordinating outfit for the special occasion. No, I did not intentionally plan this, but it did work out well for the pictures. I have to admit that if I did think of it before hand I would have picked out a cute matching outfit for the pictures. Maybe I did make the decision subconsciously and my mind is on autopilot for me! Now that would be nice, a brain that thinks for you. Wait, that is what your brain already does. I mean that it makes decisions like you would if you were aware of the decisions. Kind of like how your brain tells your lungs breathe and your heart to beat, yet you are not constantly willing these things to happen. Are you still with me?

He had so much fun and it seems like he is taking after his brother Brian - the wild one. If you know the boys or read the blog regularly, you might think it is funny that Brian is the wild one. Brian is calm and rational and quiet but he has no fear and is a thrill seeker. Sean on the other hand is a little more cautious about rides and going fast. To Brian the faster and the higher the better - he definitely gets this from me!

So, the faster and crazier that Brian Sr. pushed Justin, the louder he laughed. And the laughter intensified when they began to chase Sean around the house. Both of them were laughing so hard that they started their squeaky laughs. It only comes out when they are really truly laughing and I cherish those moments. This laugh is so infectious and I just love that all the boys have it. I wonder what part of their DNA it is on.

vrooom, vrooom
check out the hydraulics
Elvis in the house
beeping the horn
trying to drive with his feet

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Infertility Journey

I read many blogs about infertility and loss along with some pregnacy and parenting ones. Sometimes inquiring minds want to know. And sometimes I just want to post about other things than the kids. Even though I do love capturing their lives in prose and pictures. It is kind of like being a stay-at-home-mom - sometimes I just need some adult conversation. It is not that I don't want to talk to the kids, or that I don' miss them terribly the second I walk out the door, but change can be a good think once in a while.

The questions posed on a blog I read called Stirrup Queens were as follows : Did you forgo IVF due to religious reasons or embrace it due to personal beliefs? Were there familial or societal pressures unique to your situation that pushed you down one path rather than another? Did you follow in the footsteps of friends or other family members or forge your own path unique to other people around you? Was your decision clear-cut or did you agonize over the choices? Did you create a flow-chart or simply go along with whatever your RE/adoption agency director suggested? If you have a partner, did you make choices together or did one of you have a stronger hand in the decision making?

Some of these questions pertain to my story and some do not. So, I will try my best.

I guess since Brian is the oldest I will start with him. I first went to my OB after about seven months of not getting pregnant and also having very long and irregular cycles. She had me chart my temperatures for three months and then return to talk with her. My charts were a straight line. This meant that I wasn’t ovulating and without releasing an egg there is no chance of pregnancy. She referred me to an re (reproductive endocrinologist). I had a meeting with him and after some blood work and ultra sounds and a monitoring cycle it was determined that I have PCOS (poly-cysitic ovarian syndrome), low estrogen levels and insulin resistance.

I found the insulin resistance part to be funny because Brian Sr. is a diabetic. I have too much insulin and he has too little - so together we should be perfect! The re wanted to try Tamoxifen - this drug tricks your body into producing more estrogen so that I make mature eggs and ovulate. It worked on the first cycle. With Brian there were really not any decisions to be made - well, except to seek medical help.

It is funny because the doctor actually read my blood work wrong and they told me I hadn't ovulated. They said to call when I got day one of my cycle to try again. Well, weeks went by and still nothing. I thought I might be pregnant and wondered if the doctor could be wrong. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and bought a home pregnancy test. The test turned positive in a manner of seconds and I saw my first ever set of two lines!

Trying to conceive Sean was a little harder. We tried three cycles of Tamoxifen and all ended in failure. The next step was injectable medications and an iui (intrauterine insemination.) Brian Sr. was very familiar with needles so the injectable teaching class was easy for us. We got pregnant with our first iui and this time there was no mistake with blood work! We originally started off with twins but lost one sometime between six and eight weeks.

Justin was our toughest one! Over the course of more than two years I had two cycles with Tamoxifen, seven iuis with injectable medications and three IVF cycles. I had seven early miscarriages and lost Justin's twin at 18 weeks

I really cannot explain many of the decisions that were made. As I said, there were not many with Brian and Sean. And then there were so many with Justin. Even after over two years and many heartbreaking moments, there was just something deep inside me that told me to keep going. I think that my decisions were pretty clear cut - I wanted another baby and was ready to do anything. The cycles were trying and emotional and taught me a lot about myself. Brian and I did talk about things, but most of the decisions were ultimately mine. He was very understanding and let me know many times that he would support whatever I wanted to do. Most of the time we did go along with what our re said. But I did also do research and brought up ideas and asked many questions about things that I read.

So, I guess the doctor made suggestions as to what our next cycle should bring and I made comments and asked questions - and together we compromised. I was lucky to have an re that understood my desire to be an active participant in my treatment. He let me ask why we didn't increase the meds or if we could try two iuis. He always listened and then gave me his opinions. He supported me fully and I truly believe that his belief in me is part of the reason that I have Justin today. There are a lot of talented doctors but his bed side manner was one of the best I have ever experienced. And that is so important in doctor, especially when dealing with such sensitive issues.

I never felt any pressure from anyone to do something that I didn't want to do. There were a lot of friends and relatives - and doctors - that questioned us when we continued to try even after all the losses. But I know that their concerns were out of love for Brian and me and not meant to be negative. Our path was unique in our family but I did have a few friends who had to go through assisted reproduction.

We are currently in the process of adopting a daughter from South Korea. We are still doing paperwork and should be completing our home study in the next few months. Brian and I came to the decision that we wanted more children but couldn't go through trying to get pregnant or being pregnant again. We have had to make some decisions here too. We had a hard time picking a country to adopt from but when we looked into Korea things just fell into place. Brian was not sold on the idea of adoption but the more we talked the more he understood. I don't look at it like I talked him into it. His reluctance had been more because of the unknown than an unwillingness to adopt.

I cannot believe that I have or will experience most of the ways that one can become a parent. Well, except for the old fashioned way! I would have never thought that my desire to be a mother would have taken me on such a journey, but looking back now, I wouldn't change anything. I am who I am because of my experiences and I believe I am a better mom, and daughter, and wife, and sister, and friend because of my long and scenic tour through infertility and adoption.

A Taste of Spring!

Just a tiny taste. It was like having your favorite dessert barely in your mouth and then having it taken away. It was almost 70 degrees here today and so beautiful. We have had a mild winter so far - it is strange in NJ to not have used our snow shovels yet. We only had one small coating that was gone by morning and we have had some freezing rain and ice. The boys have not used their snow pants or boots. Well, Sean has used the boots but he doesn't need foul weather to break out the boots! He doesn't wear them as often, but he still really likes the convenience of them!

My mom came over to play with the boys and I took the opportunity to get the garage cleaned out. Now it will be clean when spring arrives and I can enjoy the weather without having to work! Also, if we get another nice day the boys will be able to get to their toys. I have no idea how the garage goes to pot every winter. We clean it out every spring and without fail as winter nears its close, the garage looks like we had an earthquake in there!

Come to think of it, this happens throughout my whole house. I get a room or series of rooms free of clutter and dirt and completely organized. Everything has a place and purpose. A few months later, it looks as if no one ever organized anything. Ugh! It is so frustrating and it doesn't help that I have an obsession with neatness and organization. It really drives me crazy to have things in disarray. So much in fact that I want to organize things where ever I go!

Don't worry if I have ever been to you house! I don't look down or judge others, I just like things orderly and that is my quirk. I sometimes have to fight the urge to organize - maybe at a store or at a friend’s. It especially happens at Brian Sr.'s office. I think he is missing the NOO gene. You know the Neat-Organized-Orderly gene. Most men I know are missing this, so he shouldn't feel bad. I am just glad that I have been cursed blessed with it. I cannot even imagine what our house would look like if I was missing the gene too. I might break out in hives just thinking about it!

I am in the 'how in the world did my house get destroyed' phase right now. There is just so much to do. I am cleaning and organizing in a frantic manner. I must look like a squirrel that has not saved enough for the winter and is running around frantically in two feet of snow. When I have had enough, I do feel that sense of urgency to get things systemized. It is a good thing that I don't live alone or I would be up for days until it was finished. Well, maybe not but it would be close!

Right now I am trying to go through Justin's clothes and figure out what I will keep for when we bring Kathryn home. I have heard that when the babies arrive home, they wear anything from 6-9 months up to 18 months! I am keeping some of the unisex stuff and plain colored sweats and shirts. I figure she can wear a cute pink top with grey sweats - at least to play outside. Right?

Then I have tons of wash to put away and to go through the boys' toys! Their school is having a Rainy Day toy drive to replenish their toys for recess and lunch when it rains or is too cold! Yea, an excuse to get rid of some things. I love having something worthwhile to give things to. I hate to throw things away and only do it as a last resort.

lazy dog

Brian, I mean LaDanian

deep in thought
boys and their trucks
Hi Mom!
Who me? so serious
watching my brothersblue eyes the end!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Name that Movie!

I was watching a movie with Brian and Sean this morning. I was laughing so much. Most of the time when they are watching a movie, I am doing a million other things. I have to, because this is down time for them. I know where they are and what they are doing, so it allows me precious time to get things done. But once in a while, we all sit together and watch togeher. Then I relaize how funny kids movies are! Yes, there is definitely the kid humor - but there is also a lot of adult humor hidden in some movies too. The good ones anyway!

I loved the movie Sky High. It was about a special school for kids that have super powers. The kids didn't understand but I though it was so funny that the school's principal was Wonder Woman from when I was a kid. (aka Lynda Carter) Many of the Disney movies also have funny things that are over the kid's heads. I will give you a hint - the movie we watched this morning was a cartoon but it was not Disney. Can you guess it from the following dialog?

Pig - Man that looks like it hurts!
Duke - That's very profound, insight man.
Pig - Well excuse me for being a pig!
Freddy - How come nothing is happening?
Peck - She's, uh, gonna be alright though, huh?
Pig - Yea, like what if it gets stuck or something?
Freddy - Ya mean, what like stuck half way, so, so, she'd be a cow and a half?
Pig - I didn't say cow and a half!
Freddie - Yes, you did. You just did!
Pig - Duke, Did I just say cow and a half?
Duke - I'm not doin' this!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Joe Flacco

My nephew, Joe Flacco, was starting quarterback for the University of Delaware for the past two seasons. He was on ESPN Sorts Center this morning! Brian was watching Sports Center and called out to his Dad. He said, "Dad, Why is Joe on TV?" As Brian Sr. came running out of the kitchen, Brain changed the channel so he wasn't able to rewind it on the DVR. We did find the link on, click here to see it. Here are his stats at Delaware.

The talk is that Joe will go int he first few rounds of the NFL draft. We are so proud and really excited for the opportunites that are coming to him. He is a great guy and has so much drive and determination. He is a hard worker and deserves all that is being offered to him. We can't wait too see him on TV at the combines next week! Good Luck Joe!

Watermelon Face!

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Once again, I am guilty of taking too many pictures. Once again Brian Sr. yelled at me - he thinks I might damage their eyesight from all the flash exposure! I got a small watermelon from the grocery store and Sean was super excited! When he saw it, he jumped up and down and did a dance around the kitchen. As I was cutting the watermelon, Justin was in the living room and started to cry. I went to check on him, and when I returned there were a few bites missing out of one of the watermelon pieces. I bet you will never guess who did it!

Sean had such a devilish grin on his face and red juice dripping from his chin. The juice was all over his hands and running down his wrists and arms. I smiled and asked, "Sean, What happened to the watermelon?" As he wiped the red juice from his chin onto his pajama shirt, he said, "I don't know, ask Justin." Oh what was I thinking? It was Justin who can push a stool over to the counter and climb up onto it. It was Justin who picked up the piece of watermelon that was almost as big as him and took a few bites. Not to mention he was in the other room with me at the time!

I cannot believe that he still blames Justin for things. I would think by now he would realize that we are onto him. I think that Sean must have known what I was posting about. Just a minute ago, Brian was looking for the tissue box. He asked, "Where are the tissues?" Sean said, "Justin ate them!" And then he followed his exclamation with an evil giggle. Justin has been asleep for the past two hours! See what I mean!?!

even pirates like watermelon
sucked in cheeksbig biteYou are really letting me do this?
smiling eyes aren't I cute?too happy for words