taking family pictures with one chuck allison.

Isn't that such a nice family picture of us?
I'm so happy with it, it's so perfect, can't wait to have it made into an uncomfortably large poster sized print that I can stare at forever, blah blah blah.

Let's talk about Chuck taking family pictures.

During our quick sunset session, we were trying to take a nice father-son picture, something of Chuck and his mini-me that I could have and hold and cherish. So the photographer (my lovely friend Dannie) and I are cooing to Sam, doing the camera jumping dance, and making a real you-know-what of ourselves in this field to get Sam to look (I gave up on the smile dream once we hit 7 o'clock AKA the witching hour).

"Hi buddy!"
"Right here big boy!"
"Oh so good!"
"Who's the best smiler?"

I know you can hear exactly how I'm saying this.

Sam wasn't having any of it.
But good news, Chuck Allison was.

"Hi Buddy!"

"Right here big boy!"

"Oh so good!"
"Who's the best smiler?"

I'm going to place an order for all of these, obviously, just let me know how many you want - maybe we can get them in bulk. I feel like it hasn't been said enough, but let's all remember that he can fly airplanes.


the ballad of sam and lucas.

"Sam, what is your mom doing? You should know. You lived in her. What do you think she wants?"

"I don't know - the woman is a mystery. My Dad has known her like 100 years and he says to just let her go at it when she gets like this. But... I'm gonna make faces at her until she leaves."

 "Good call Man. I like where your head is at. But, uh, not working."
"Obviously, I can see that. I may be 9 weeks younger than you but I can still see when our message isn't being received."

 "Oh. Thank God. My Mom is back. She will stop this. She doesn't have one of those camera things attached to her face all the time. She's much more reasonable than your Mom. She will break this up."

"How's that, uh, working out for you Lucas? Literally nothing has changed. Literally. Now we have two Mom literally all up in our grillz. I also just literally learned what that word means."

"First of all, no you didn't. Second of all, not too well, Samuel. Thanks for noticing."

"Hee. Hee. Hee"

 "New plan, Sam. I look at mine. You look at yours."
"No! Lucas. STOP! It's a trap. Don't get sucked in by the tickle fingers."

"Oooooh Haaaa. I see what you mean. These are fantastic. Your Mom is amazing."

"I know. I just love her, Sam. So much. Light of my light."

"Don't be mean, Sam. I'm tired. I wanna go home."
"I know. I'm sorry. I love you Lucas. Solidarity, bro. Sol-i-dar-i-ty."

what part of this picture is the most shocking?

Be honest.

Is it that I'm actually helping with a project?
Is it my unwashed hair and no make up, Sunday is a freebie day face?
Is it that I'm actually in painting appropriate clothes and that is for sure the only gray hooded sweatshirt I own?

Or is it that I have a baby strapped to my front whilst I paint?

Don't judge. Multi-tasking is the only way anything gets done around here. And BTdub. The paint is only a little bit lead based and he only sat in an unventilated room with it for a fraction of time. I KID. Jeesh.

it's been a year.

Today is Sam and my one year anniversary of being together. And totally in love. And BFFs but without the necklaces because he can't get to Claire's and I'm too busy to take him.

I guess you could say our IVF journey ended one year ago today. Or became a success, finally, or something along those lines. This morning, I picked a booger from a baby nose and rubbed a belly to help (with no luck) to get a mean old poop out. (I'm considering feeding him McDonald's to get the poo party going. You know what I'm talking about.) Oh the difference a year can make.

A year ago this morning, I was driving to school. Our appointment for embryo transfer wasn't until the afternoon and there was no way in heck I was going to sit around at home. I was going crazy enough already wondering what the end of the day would look like.

By the end of the day we would know a lot and have a lot of questions answered. Scary questions answered. Questions I hope you never have to face like "Will we be able to have biological children?" Our last round of IVF was just that: the last round. We would either leave that appointment knowing we had a shot at a biological baby or we would know that dream was over and the new dream of adoption would begin.

I said back in February that the "what went wrong" with us is a lot of medical talk and hard to explain, but I know it's human nature. I would want to know, so don't feel bad for being curious. Our journey has a big anniversary today. I guess I just thought I'd like to share that.

Like I said before, we are both rejects from Table 9.

But, way back when, we started out as male factor infertility issues and the fix for that, for us, was IVF. And then using a very specific procedure in IVF called ICSI. In a normal, female factor IVF the spermies (technical name) and the eggs sit in a petri dish together for a little 7th grade dance. Some spermies cross the dance floor, eggs are fertilized, and that is that. But in ICSI, the spermies can't be trusted to find the way so an embryologist looks at all the eggs and all the spermies and then picks one of each and forces a love connection, embryos are made, and it's pretty bananas to think about. I think mixing ingredients to make brownies is amazing. These people mix ingredients and make tiny humans.

So we knew we were going the IVF/ICSI route way back in August of 2011. And we knew - always a dangerous thing in this game - that we were very good candidates. Male factor, my side looked great and we were young for IVF. This would probably be a quick open and shut case.

Cue the waaaa waaaaa because apparently we forgot to knock on wood. Our first two rounds went south PDQ when it turned out that actually I didn't react normally to the stimulation drugs and both rounds were cancelled before eggs were harvested. Yes, that is the actual term. Harvesting the eggs. I know. It took us a long time to say that sentence without giggling and we still can't.

The next two rounds went better but there was still something off with my eggs and we never had a great end result. Duh, I mean we didn't get pregnant so obviously a bad result, but it was more than that. When they harvest 30 eggs, make 20 something embryos and everything dies off. That's a bad end result. And that's what we faced for rounds 3 and 4. We were now officially male and female factor infertility and balance was restored to the land (cue angels singing).

The doctors theorized that my side of the problem was a maturity issue. There's a shocker. Let that sink in. I have a maturity issue. Should have seen this coming a mile away. Obviously that was going to be the problem. My eggs never got mature enough to create embryos strong enough to develop. But that was just the theory and the other theory there was that we had a DNA issue and that my body wasn't allowing an embryo with an abnormality to attach and therefore, we would never have a biological baby.

The interesting part about IVF that we came to understand is for how therapeutic it is, it's also diagnostic. One doctor explained that to us after the first canceled round. You have to diagnose the problem to provide the right therapy.

To fix my maturity issue the doctors added time with the classics, world travel and human growth hormone. Yeah see, most of that maturity issue wasn't fixed with the growth hormone... They added that to my drug regimen, fingers crossed and 17 days later (four shots a night) they took out 18 eggs from me.

Then the waiting starts.
They like to put the embryos back in five days later. I'll give you three guesses, first two don't count, as to what the longest five days of my life were? It's an unbelievable wait especially when you know it's the last time you will wait those five days.

A year ago today was that fifth day.
A lot was riding on that day.

We walked into the doctors office a year ago hoping to see beautiful, mature embryos to transfer but also prepared for what we had already seen so many times before. We knew we were walking in with questions and walking out with answers no matter what happened that day. And that, I swear to you, was an unbelievable amount of peace. Knowing that there would be a resolution - no matter what that resolution was - was the weight of three years being lifted off our shoulders.

It really was a life changing day on so very many levels.

The embryologist practically skipped into our room with the news that it had "worked" - so far so good. We had embryos at mature stages we had never seen before. We had a shot. Finally. After five rounds we had a decent chance of having a baby. The day Sam was born was definitely the happiest day of our lives, but the day we knew there was a hope for Sam is a very very close second.

Ten days later - remember when I said five was long? - we found out it had "taken". Put that on the best days list. Ten days before we wondered if a miracle was possible and ten days later, then 39 weeks more, and we found out they are definitely possible.

Please keep going. Please keep trying. Find your miracle.

ps. Wanna see what Chuck looked like a year ago today? Well....remember when I said we were always the height of maturity in our appointments?

This is Chuck providing me with a very informative (nope) lecture on the early stages of embryonic development using the transvaginal ultrasound wand. That wand, incidentally, also makes a great Bob Barker microphone and obviously that happened a lot. Keep it light people. Keep. It. Light.

obviously sam can already talk.

Duh. He's three months old and of course he is already talking. I'm not saying "cooing", I mean actual words. Is your three month old not doing that? Yikes.

I'm only kidding.
Well, kind of kidding. Wink.

So I got an SOS, 911 "house is on fire" type text from Chuck's sister, Nan, that she missed Mr. Baby something fierce and needed a little something to get her through. Since Sam is a big coo-er these days, I thought a video of him "talking" would be just what she needed.

Except Sam decided that instead of cooing he would just actually say "Hi" to his Aunt Nan. Or at least make a coo that sounds so much like "Hi" we are dying over it. Because it is adorable and proves what we've known since day one, which is that he is crazy advanced, should start kindergarten in September, and will one day belong in the gifted program in our school district. He is clearly bored and needs to be challenged (just a little edu humor for my teacher friends).

I'm thinking I probably can't count this as his first word in his baby book since he can't actually replicate this or do it on command. Wait. No. I mean, he can do it again, he just chooses not to. He is so advanced for his age.

the last shower of 2013.

And that concludes Baby Shower season 2013. We freaking did it.

Saturday, we threw a baby shower for this guy:

Ok. Fine, so we technically threw it for both of them (Kevin AND Emy) but I just like pretending it was Kevin's shower and Emy tagged along. Oh and I don't even have a picture of them together, happily enjoying their baby shower, so Baby Girl will just have to take my word for it that her parents are very in love, very in love with her already, and did actually hang out together. I just have no hard evidence of that. Ooops.

I do have hard evidence, Baby Girl, that your mom is very in love with her girl friends.

Does that count?
It should. We are fabulous.

And we throw a pretty fabulous party. Get your pinterest buttons ready.

We decided that since this was the third baby shower of the year and fourth total for our posse that maybe we should switch things up a bit and do a co-ed summer BBQ. Mostly we needed an excuse for a BBQ and it's about time the boys had to suffer through a shower, ooohing and aaaahing over burp cloths and wipes warmers.

PK was actually one of said boys who had to "suffer" through the shower. He said he's almost 60 and this was his first baby shower. "I almost made it." Nice try PK. Nice try.

Since Emy is having the one and only Baby Girl of 2013 in the group, we decided to make headbands for our almost-here-angel. This was in lieu of a game and though none of us our big "craft" people typically, this was a hoot.

Andrea (see picture below for visual of her beautiful face) compiled all the supplies. Flowers from Michaels, felt pieces, scrapbooking stickers, etc and you have a head band table. Also, Emy - don't read this part - the actual head bands are really cheap. Like 12 for $3 cheap. We even made a few of the felt flowers on our own thanks to Pinterest and a lazy weekend back in July.

And the icing on the headband cake, was the stand that Andrea made. It's a tacky candle stick holder from Goodwill that she spray painted white, an oatmeal box wrapped in fabric and she added the cute little balls because everything Andrea makes is special like that.

People made headbands throughout the party and added them to the holder, inside and out. By the end, we had this to give to Emy:

This was one of our better moves.

Until one of the boys (not this boy, he's just the male model) made a headband from a pom-pom. See, this is the risk you run having men folk at a baby shower. That and the headband with Coors light bottle caps attached to it. Don't think I have a picture of that one, so just take my word for it. It was...special.

Since it was a BBQ, Dania (with slave labor help from Libby and Jessica) made hamburger cupcakes.

They even made me a "Big Mac" cupcake.

I love them so.
Chuck wondered if I could eat said Big Mac cupcake in one bite.
Challenge accepted.

Jessica made Emy a beer cake, because we've perfected the diaper cake so this is us moving on. Obviously, much like a diaper cake, this is for use AFTER the pregnancy. There are all the traditional baby gifts inside the beer cake - washcloths, onesies, etc. This felt so right for Emy's shower, a BBQ shower, and a shower where men were. Except most of the men didn't get the humor behind it because they weren't familiar with diaper cakes. The women on the other hand - huge crowd pleaser.

And that about does it.

Our last shower of the year. Now we have four weeks or so until we meet our Baby Girl, who will come on time if she is her mother's child and knows what's good for her. In college, Emy would have a panic attack if she was less than 10 minutes EARLY to class. If this baby comes anywhere but early to on time, well. Good luck, babe. We're rooting for you.

This one is Andrea (and Libby) - see I told you I'd point out her gorgeous face. Andrea is a fabulous and the stuff dreams are made of. Someday she will come and redecorate my house and life. Until then...

That is how Sam slept the entire party. Take it in.

Oh and remember what I said about the "over loving"? That continued.

And this is what the after-shower looks like.

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