15 weeks: oh my gosh, when are you due?

You know what's fun about being 15 weeks pregnant but looking six months pregnant? EVERYTHING.

I'm already reaping all the pregnancy benefits out in public but months before "normal" pregnant women do. I'm getting the loving smiles, the "go right ahead", and the sympathetic nods from passer byers before I really deserve to be getting those.

Win. Win. Win.

You other ladies have to wait until your mid-twenty weeks for this kind of notice, but I am just taking it all in well before I should.

Also fun with looking this pregnant this early is the fun bubble bursting game I get to play with strangers. It's my new favorite past time and, at 25 weeks until D-day, I've got months of game playing joy ahead of me.

Here's how everyday goes for me with a strangers:

The affectionate smile followed by "Oh, when are you due?"
Now, right away, they are expecting October or November, so I get to burst that little bubble with "Oh, January."

Next comes the horrified look and bulging eyes similar to this:

I selected this photo of Heidi Montag to illustrated the shocked face point in this post because I felt it was most likely to result in you now having a shocked face. Yes, this is the picture I chose.

I don't even wait for any sort of follow up, I just launch into this run on of a sentence to sum up my current situation "Yep, I'm only 15 weeks along; I had an 11 pound baby a year ago."

Follow up:

That's usually when I either get to walk away or (depending on how far said stranger is willing to pry) I provide one of the following answers to whichever of the three standard questions they asked:
1. No, I didn't have diabetes.
2. Yes, it was a C-section. They knew he wouldn't fit.
3. No, he was actually born a week early.

This scene is on repeat so much right now that I'm considering investing in a Talk Boy so I can both save my breath and finally act out all the scenes from Home Alone 2 with stunning accuracy.

No, the doctors have not said yet if this is a "big one" like Sam, but I will tell you that our primary OB laughs every time she sees this belly so that's probably not a good sign, right? Right.

The best camera-focus-exposure checkers ever. Also, Rudolph here had a little hit to the ego over the weekend with that ol' scraped nose: despite his assumption that he can, no he CANNOT just step off the patio like an adult.

[monday meals mashup] week something or other

Coming to the end of morning sickness is the most amazing break up ever. We had a long, tumultuous 14 week relationship that was 100% abusive and I am walking away. Not like I got to choose when to stand up to that jerk, but whatevs. It's over. Hallelujah.  Won't miss you a'tall.

AND this means we are back to meal planning and (mostly) meals by me. Mostly? Mostly because it's 15,000 degrees in Seattle and we are spending more time at Fe's than we should and seeing if it's possible for Sam to wear out a welcome. Doubtful for him, but I'm sure I'm pushing it. Hey - she can either have us or buy us AC. The ball is in her court.

BUT it means joint meal preparation with Fe, which is a fun summertime win. My kitchen is about 90 degrees (ok, slight hyperbole - it only gets to about 85 DOWNSTAIRS) so thank goodness for AC and parents who love you or we would be eating Irish every night (McDonalds, get it?).

Our food for the week. Since we are a little play by ear with the heat, I'm just listing it straight out. Not sure when we will eat what...but we will, and that's all that matters.

Bomb.com Blue Cheese Burgers - My favorite summer (fall, winter, and spring) meal. It doesn't matter what season. If there is a grill, these bad boys are mine. I wrote a post about them here so that's where you can find the full recipe.

The basics: well seasoned beef to hide the meat taste, caramelized red onions, and dripping with blue cheese (pasteurized blue cheese for me - obviously - wink). LOVE isn't strong enough.

BBQ Pork Spareribs - Ribs on the grill smothered in Fe's homemade BBQ sauce (recipe here). Corn on the cob, fruit salad, done and done.

Lucy Chicken - So this one is a bit of a wild card for our week. Lucy is here and she wants her favorite dinner. Not exactly what Fe and I would have picked for 90 degree summer heat but oh well. It's a crock pot chicken recipe and, obviously, very kid friendly if this five year old requests it every time she visits {recipe below}.

Flank Steak - No recipe here; it's flank steak season at the grocery store and they are always on sale. Plus they are pre-marinated so that is just another excuse to buy them. Delicious, perfect. Pretty much the only steak I will eat without making a face.

That's all we've got so far but with this heat, it's surprising we could even think past this evening. But then again, Fe is who taught me meal planning so we are sort of having a Captain Planet "Our powers combine" type week.

Yeah - Monday Meals Mashup is back (and I'm not vomiting thinking about it!).

just finally gave sam his birthday gift.

Look. It's only two months post birthday and he's a baby. He doesn't know squat. When he can read a calendar, I'll care about timely gift giving, until then:

Happy Birthday gift in July!

Also, Sam, this gift took your father a lot of time to build and me a lot of time spent listening about it.  Bottom line: I bore the brunt by listening to the project so you better love it.

Chuck built Sam a Busy Board.

It is the busiest of boards.

Is this not the freaking coolest thing you've ever seen and how much do you want one for yourself? Not gonna lie, this has kept me pretty busy since its completion.

Yes, Chuck did all of this himself. I mean, it is pretty amazing and ridiculous, right?

We got the idea a few years ago from a friend who posted his son's Busy Board on Facebook. Funny enough, he didn't finish it until a few months after his son's birthday so maybe that's the going rate for Busy Boards. A little help from Pinterest and then a lot of Allison Family creative vision, and we came up with the hardware and the layout.

Pretty bomb, pretty, pretty bomb.

Sam was presented with his 60 day past due birthday present over the weekend, and no surprise, it was met with extreme excitement and an abundance of baby small mouth.

He lost his mouth in a tragic baby 'nam accident. It's so sad.

A few things need to be noted. First, yes, it was an ungodly amount of one-on-one time with his router. Two, in the above picture you can see that the doors open to reveal the backing that Chuck added to the top board so they would open to something - eventually, probably pictures that we can move around.

And finally, I'd like you to imagine the amount of staining and sanding that went into this project along with the copious amounts of measuring and overthinking. Not since the ship's wheel has his anality level (that's the term for the varying degrees of Chuck's anal/obsessive behaviors) hit that high a mark.

Satisfied, happy customer. Good thing your Dad is legit, Sam. You are one lucky kid.

Obviously, only first time parents would teach their child to open a variety of locks... So we aren't the brightest but hey! We can make a cool toy.

well, i guess we aren't that infertile.

"This is your doctor. I have your pregnancy report here, and guess what. You got knocked up."

So, how ya doing?
You believing this?
Want me to go on? Sure you do. You is curious like the freaking cat on this story. I know you too well.

In summary, I'm pregnant.

Need a little more? Try this on for size: I'm real pregnant. Like natural, on our own, oops - how did this happen pregnant. Sam is our GMO baby. This is our organic baby.

In the report card of life, the Allisons get an F for family planning. First, we can't make a baby when we want to; then, we make a baby when we don't. Even in infertility, we technically fail (wink).

Do you need a second to take this in? Because trust me, I've had 13 weeks of seconds and I still haven't taken this all the way in.

Ok. Let's see.

First, obviously, we are calling this the Accidental Allison because who saw this coming? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Wait, wait, wait.
You might say "I did! This happens to people all the time when they stop trying." Well I'm gonna stop you right there. Please to remember that Chuck and I do not have "unexplained infertility." We have very explained, very medical reasons on both sides of the table that equal "we can't make a baby" (except spoiler alert: we just did, whoops). No amount of relaxing can fix our issues, but we think Sam did - I'll get to that.

The "Accident" was initially noticed at Sam's first birthday party, but really - I can't get pregnant so who cares if I'm a day or two late? A week late however and I finally drove my tired, sore butt to Fred Meyer, told Sam his mother is a crazy person, and went home to take a test that lit up like a Christmas Tree. Apparently I wasn't totally crazy, just 100% knocked up.

The going theory - between us and our doctors - is Sam. We believe Sam hit the reset button on my hormoney problem. My side of the reject coin had to due with my body's inability to produce enough hormones each month to make a mature egg. Pregnancy does crazy things to your body and in my case, we believe Sam was the equivalent of blowing on a Nintendo cartridge.

Also, side note, and I think you'll really get a kick out of this: this baby was definitely minted during National Infertility Awareness Week. So I'm thinking maybe our bodies weren't as aware of how infertile they were as we thought...Oh the irony. We are a walking cliché.

So that's the buzz. Sorry I haven't been blogging much the last 8 weeks or so. Morning sickness with this kid has been of Biblical proportions and much of that time was spent with Fe bringing over dinners in Tupperware, raising Sam and running a pregnant hospice for me. I'm finally coming out of it and it no longer hurts my body to look at a computer screen. We are back in business.

Oh and for those of you attempting mental math, I'll save you the time. The Allison kids will be a mere 20 months apart when #2 arrives in early January. Send prayers, dinners, and tranquilizers (kidding).

Yes, my belly is already that big at 13 weeks. Yes, there is only one in there. What did you expect? I had an 11 pound baby 14 months ago. I'm not Mila freaking Kunis.

Ps. Did I mention we're having another baby?!
Pps. Straw pole: Which Allison baby is a bigger miracle? IVF Sam or the natural wonder?

saying goodbye to jack the cat.

Our beloved Jack has left us for Cat Heaven. We are heartbroken, devastated, and at a loss. Our baby cat is gone.

Jack S. Bottom was born on what we are sure was a sunlit March 29th, 2006 to an unwed cat mother. He found his way to the Bellevue Humane Society in the first few weeks of his life. On July 2 (our first wedding anniversary), we wandered through the Humane Society doors in search of a black, male kitten. Our dream baby. We'd been married a year and were ready to expand our family.

We asked the front desk if they had any kittens.

"Oh shoot," said the front desk lady. "We had 14 kittens arrive this morning and the only one left is a black male who won't leave that box. We call him the Jack in the Box."

We met Jack in a small introduction room and it was love at first purr. He did his signature move almost immediately on Chuck's lap - "the upside down cat" - and we were sold. He was ours and we were his.

First official cat photo.

If you look closely, you can see the mother-son similarities. Or not. Crazy cat lady...
We loved that cat something fierce. Maybe too much at times and maybe we occasionally crossed the line into those people but how could we not? You try staring into those gorgeous green eyes day in and day out and not get lost in him.

Jack was an incredible cat. He came when called. He sat when told. He said "mama?" when he couldn't find me - and I have many eye witnesses who can confirm this. He played fetch. He walked on a leash. He jumped on shoulders like a parrot.

He was Super Cat.

Jack's life took on a whole new meaning for us as we battled infertility. He was our baby. While others around us filled their homes with children, we poured our hearts into Jackie. He was our only baby for seven years and more than a few times, I wondered if Jack was all we would get. Jack stayed by our side through four years of heart ache, took care of me after each failed round of whatever and two chemical pregnancies, and most importantly, kept our spirits up. He was an emotional support animal above and beyond.

Almost two years ago, Jack started having digestive issues. He'd have what we termed "poopisodes" and while I won't go into insane detail, I will give you this visual: imagine a cat with diarrhea trying to run away from their own butt hole. Jack was diagnosed with, most likely, irritable bowels. He had to take this awful medication every night and he did it like a champ.

In true Jack fashion, because he was a trainable dog cat, we taught him that in case of poopisode emergencies to calmly walk to the guest bath and poop in one specific spot. I will never tell you which spot. I like have guests over too much. We have a lot of bleach here. And he would. Anytime he his IBS flared up more than his daily medication could handle, he would head to his space.

We didn't know 100% if it was IBS that was Jack's issue because the tests to conclusive identification were lengthy and just too much for what we were facing. And there was that 5% chance it could be intestinal cancer which we most certainly couldn't help.

At Sam's birthday, Jack fell gravely ill. He went from 14 pounds to 10 and wasn't active anymore. He wasn't chasing Chuck up the stairs or cuddling with me at night. Cereal cat was gone, run cat was gone, attempted escape cat was gone.

We switched medications and saw improvement.
And then he would get worse.
So we switched foods. And he got better.
And then he got way worse again.

And then this weekend Jack went from being the light of our house to hiding in the closet and no longer moving. He stopped eating. He stopped drinking. As the weekend progressed, he fell further and further from us. He now weighed just 7 pounds. By this morning, Jack could no longer walk, he couldn't lift his head, and he cried if he tried to move himself.

The doctors confirmed it was intestinal cancer after all.
And it was time.

The nurses watched Sam in the lobby while Chuck and I said goodbye to the first baby we ever loved and the one who helped us become a family. You can't tell me the timing of his death isn't a coincidence. He had gotten us to Mom and Dad, he'd done his job, his time was over. He died on his favorite blanket with his head in my hands and belly in Chuck's.

He was the best cat we could have ever asked for and we are defining hot mess over here. No one will say we are grieving gracefully. We started "losing him" about 8 weeks ago so by the time today became Today, it was the easiest decision we've ever made regarding his care.

Oh Kitten. Thanks for making me a mom and then being there when I actually became one. You meant the world to us. You made our world. You made us a family. We know that he was just a cat, but he was some cat.

Jack S. Bottom is survived by his beloved parents and his arch nemesis, Sam. He leaves behind an 8 foot tall scratching post, his favorite fluff toy, and a plethora of chap sticks, all of which are "lost" and will be found by us someday. We can only hope that in Cat Heaven, he finally earns his "Outdoor Survival Badge" and can run in the wind like he always dreamed.

Thank you for loving Jack on this blog the last five years, listening to my stories about him and feigning interesting in the life of a cat you'd never met. He was something else. I wish you could have known him. I am so thankful I did.

Sam and Camden do Kim and Kanye

I figured, really, why sugar coat the title or come up with some clever "these babies are bound" type header for this post. The "art" and "vision" of the piece that I'm about to show you speaks for itself.

So yesterday was sweet little Noah's first birthday party. He was given a little push motorcycle and it was adorable. A favorite of all the kids. Good job gift giver, whoever you were. Nailed it.

During said party, Sam is having his turn on the motorcycle and Emy, genius that she is, suggests a little artistic recreation of one of the most beautiful and stunning works of modern time:

Kanye's "Bound" video.
You know, the motorcycle one with what's her face on it?

We all laughed because it's a funny idea but funny ideas like that with Emy and Chuck in the room end up like this for Sam and Camden.

Let's just say both kids were totally into it, super cooperative, and there were absolutely no tears during this process. Explanations were given to the children about how art can be a struggle and you have to find your inner strength, but they were not having it.

Whatever. We still got The Shot that just needed a quick turn in Photoshop and BAM.

Kim and Kanye have nothing on these two.

Also, in other uncooperative news at Noah's party: Elsa Sam was a total bust.

I have no idea why this concept was rejected by him. [insert a Let it Go pun here.]

sam wins his first major award.

I think we can all agree that Sam is destined for greatness.

I mean, the face, the personality, the winning gene pool that he's pulling from (wiiiiink)....he is the total package. It was obvious from day one and it's still obvious on day 396. And yes, I just did the math to figure out how old he is to.the.day. (It's safe to say a post on what I do with myself all day may be in order soon...)

Well, last night - day 395 of Sam's life - he received his first major award. No, it was not a leg lamp. Also, I can't believe it actually took him this long to win an award. Maybe he's not as awesome as I make him out to be. Nope. Definitely better. (aaaah, who has first time mom syndrome still? this girl.)

Sam's first major award was for (drum roll please):

Didn't see that coming did you? What were you thinking? Most likely to melt lady baby hearts? Sweetest baby hugs in the Seattle area? #1 shoe remover - left shoe division?

Nope. BOWLING. Why? Because he was awesome at it.

Ok. Ok. So we go bowling with Chuck's work last night. Chuck has a fantastic group he works with and every few months they do fun activities with the families. Sam is sort of a mascot and why wouldn't he be(?), so we always make sure to go. Plus it's a room full of people who have grown children and no grandchildren yet so I don't exactly have to do an extensive amount of parenting at these things. I'm pretty over Sam and his dimples but he has these people snowed over.

Anywhoozy, he loved bowling night. Which is good and bad.

Good = he enjoyed a new experience. It's a loud experience and he seemed genuinely interested in the balls rolling down the lane. Great. When we bowl again in the obligatory 5 years, he won't hate it.

Bad = OBVIOUSLY, Chuck took bowling in high school, has his own shoes, ball, and bag. So basically, I have a strong reason to fear Sam is already following in these footsteps. Not that Chuck bowls often, but when he does, he looks exactly like how you are imagining. Is this the future of my angel child? Probably.

Back to the award. Sam won for funniest bowler because naturally he was hysterical as most 13 months old are. But here's the shocker: he was actually good at it.

For reals. Well not for REALZ but for reals. Get it? You will.

I didn't know this, but now they have these ramps for little kids to place the ball on and then push them down the lane. Anyone else? Bueller? K.


First time we do it, I put his hand on the ball and "together" (ie: mostly me) we push the ball and knock down 3 pins. Which is a good bowl for me. Second roll, he pushes more than me and picks up the spare. Of course he did.

So "our" turn comes up again and we get him all ready with a 12 pound ball on the ramp. He knows exactly what to do and before I can help, in a complete "I do it myself!!" toddler move, he launches that hot pink ball down the lane at an impressive rate.


He bowled a freaking strike.

For anyone keeping score, he's a lifetime clean bowler. Clean through two whole frames, but they're his only two frames so....he's clean and on his way to breaking 200 by kindergarten.

Sammy Baby. Bowling extraordinaire.
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