photo dump friday.

Happy Friday, Happy Photo Dump, Happy "Get Caught Up On Sam's Life" Day:
Mr. Pool enjoys about five minutes in the water and then usually chooses somewhere shaded to sit. I can't make him up.
Meeting a potential suitor, Harper Lennon. Ms. Harper was two weeks old here and Sam was fascinated but in more of a Lenny from Mice and Men "I'm going to squeeze the love into her" kind of way. Note the death grip on her leg. During our visit, he squeezed love into her knees and feet multiple times, patted her face with a (clean) diaper wipe, and almost completely lifted her out of the Mamaroo while (mostly) unsupervised with a new baby. Ooops.

Cleaning the pond with Dad Dad is a huge deal. There are sound effects happening.

Mozart here loves his piano. Always find him here when he's at Fe and PK's.

Attempting to wake Chuck is a fate worse than death. Chuck is the worst to wake up and needs at minimum 45 minutes for his "process". His term, not mine. This was clearly mid-process one morning and Sam had about enough of waiting.

Summer uniform. Diaper soaked from either urine or hose water - tough to tell, bowl of mangos, vacuum attachment, sandals. Pretty standard weekday get up.

Strawberry ice cream. Always.

Floor fruit: the only way cooking gets done.

Firecracker popsicles are really the only way to enjoy summer.
Pants off. Toys out. Nuun hydrating.
The timeless art of baby seduction.

Kissing Naked Baby.
TOTAL accident that I caught this because he wasn't doing the thumbs up. In fact, if I remember right, his feelings for me that day would have better been summed up in another finger.
First time at the library. Went to "Lunch Bunch" story time and lasted less than two minutes. With the help of lipstick, a purse, and breath mints, he made it a whole 14.
Best cell phone pic ever. We had the sides and back of his head shaved for just a Mohawk occasion such as this.


a teeny, tiny baby drinking problem

Someone in this house has a bit of a drinking problem.

Any recommendations for a Baby 12-step program that ends WITH baby addicted to whole milk? Oh I know usually 12-step programs work the other way, but I'm looking for something to get him hooked on this stuff.


Not like, "Oh yeah, could you hold the pickles?" type hatred but more like "Why would you offend my very being; I hate you and I hate your ugly face" type hatred.

Bottom of his soul.
Firey, unyielding passion.
Think Julia Stiles vs. Andrew Keegan in 10 Things I Hate About You.

I don't feel like I can be any clearer.


Here's video proof.

Sigh. Had I kept filming three second longer I would have gotten his trademark "fart face noise of disgust" over the milk. But continuing on.....

What KILLS me is this kid seems to have a palate for a wide range of other beverages after water. (Don't worry, I have photographic evidence). 

Hose water.

Fruit and vegie smoothies.

McDonalds coke.
He's like Gollum..."Ooooh my precious coke..."

Cherry coke.
(This can was empty, but man, what commitment. What an effort!)

Nordstrom mocha.

Decaf Americano with white mocha and room for cream.

3 shots of decaf espresso in a grande cup over ice with white mocha and splash of breve.

Milk. Chocolate Milk. Almond Milk. Cold. Warm. Hot.
No. No. No. No. No. No.
Sippy, bottle, straw, cup.
Please. NO.

We are 100% weaned as of last week, Sammy Baby, so chop chop. I'm getting a little sick of shoveling yogurt and cheese into your calcium deficient face. Time to hop of the Got Milk train and get over it.

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. 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.
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