Amber and Aaron

Amber and Aaron

The Fun We've Already Had...

  • Graham Tomas born July 31 at 5:04 P.M. weighing 8 lbs, 12 oz.
  • December 2, 2011: PREGNANT!!!
  • Paisley Kate arrived August 21 at 5:38 P.M. weighing 7 lbs, 9 oz
  • DUE DATE: August 25, 2010!!!
  • Dec. 14, 2009- PREGNANT!!!
  • Oct. 07,2009- Had elective D&C.
  • Sept 28, 2009- No embryo on ultrasound. :(
  • Sept 15th, 2009- We found out we're PREGNANT!!!
  • Sept '09- Aaron had varicocele repair.
  • July '09- IUI #1 with HCG shot= No such luck
  • April '09- Ovarian drilling surgery, followed by hospitalization for uterine infection
  • Jan-Mar '09- metformin + 3 rounds of clomid= no ovulation
  • Dec. 11, 2008- Hysterosalpingogram (Fancy word for shooting dye through the ovaries. OUCH)
  • Nov '08- Sent to RE. Tried metformin alone for two months (No ovulation)
  • Oct '08- Diagnosed with PCOS based on amenorrhea and crazy hormone levels.
  • June '08- Aaron convinced me to start trying.
  • June '04- Got Hitched!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Santa Claus

I miss blogging.  It's just that I'm trying to minimalize the busy-ness in my life right now because the holidays always make me overwhelmed.  Like I get a bit crazy.  All the gift-giving, shopping, parties, family, friends, drama, food, etc.  Sounds fun to most people but I just do better with simple.   And that word hasn't described my life since giving birth 3 years ago.  Sooo, I go missing from time to time, but I keep up with everyone else's blogs! 

This was my mom's attempt at a Christmas card with the kids.  It looks like they were decently enjoying it but the truth is both kids were having fits for absolutely no reason.  She used it anyways.

My ornery little stud-muffin playing on the stairs.

Graham having a VERY rare fit.  I had to capture the moment.

Sweet sibling time in pajamas.  Times like this one melt my heart and make me feel good about my decision to have two kids.


Graham was totally not sure about Santa, but Paisley loved him as usual.

Writing her Santa letter.  It's really long, but she says it only asks for a "white doggy".  Great.

This shows her personality in full force.  Love it.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Unique Diva


Paisley's teacher, Ms. Cristi, sent home a picture of her from school today that made my heart so happy.  If you don't know which one she is, that would be the very pink and frilly little movie star in the middle.  No, it isn't picture day.  It isn't Easter or a school program.  That was just the outfit she insisted upon that day.

Raising Paisley is far from easy.  Her day can fall apart if things don't go just right.  You have to put on her left shoe first.  Never cut up her bananas- she likes them whole.  She will get herself in and out of the car without your help thankyouverymuch.  She turns off the lights and TV when we leave.  And heaven forbid you don't zip up her jackets and put the hood on before opening the door.



But what I've learned is with every demand she has, she also is becoming a very strong-willed independent girl who knows what she wants.  She isn't ever afraid to voice her opinion and she stands up for herself.  Those sound like traits she might need down the road...

Yesterday she was having a conversation with my cell phone which concerned me so I looked at it and realized she was talking to Siri.  She would mumble to her and Siri would reply, "I did not understand that." And Paisley would respond, "you didn't?"  Like she just couldn't imagine why this mechanical voice wasn't picking up what she was saying.

She also is very loving and cuddly and thoughtful.  The kid loves to go anywhere and rarely complains if we're in public.  And she's pretty.  Really pretty.  And funnier than I ever imagined a 3-year-old could be.  And she has ensured that our house is full of life and excitement.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Where Have I Been?!?

 Where in the world has time gone?  It's like I blink and a month has passed without a single blog post from me.  I would try to explain the Bermuda triangle of time that seems to suck away hours and even days without anything to show for it.  But it is truly just filled with crazy kid stuff.  And a teeny-tiny bit of sleep. 
 We've been doing great!  Spending lots of time with the horses while the weather has been nice.  The three girls are all doing wonderful.  One of them had a squamous cell cancer of the eye, but one of our best friends happens to be an equine surgeon so he removed it and she's doing well.  I realize the above picture is of a baby naked on a horse.  This is Graham as Lady Godiva.  :)   Actually, he had just destroyed his clothes playing at the land...
 Paisley is still her very happiest on top of a horse.  She sings sweet songs and zones out into her own pleasant little world.  I absolutely love it.  She thinks its awesome to brush them and give them hay and treats.  And it's hilarious when she tries to boss them around as if they're smaller than her.  One of them seems genuinely obedient to her, which is crazy considering the thousand pound difference in size.  :)
 Paisley has been really good lately which makes me believe that she's saving up her energy for a really rough phase soon.  :)

 We were a farm family for Halloween this year which Paisley insisted upon.  I wanted to be superheroes, but the girl wins.  Every.single.time.  Can't wait to see what we'll be next year.
Graham FINALLY started walking!!!  Paisley walked on the week of her 1st birthday, but we knew Graham was going to take things a bit slower.  We did not know, however, that he would be nearly 16 months old before he'd walk.  He is so much happier and so much less needy know that he can get around on his own.  He plays with Paisley more and allows me to walk out of rooms without acting like I've walked out of his life forever.
 
He also weaned finally which I may have mentioned on one of my previous posts, but it still seems worth another shout-out since it took 15 months.  I wasn't all that sad to wean either child because I thrive on increasing independence.  Baby neediness kinda wears me out and I love having more of a relationship with the kids as they get bigger. 
 
Sooo, life seems to be finding a new normal finally.  Having two kids was an adjustment but not nearly as much as having the first.  That rocked my world for a LONG time.  They really love each other and I really love watching them interact.  Totally worth it.
 
 
 
 


Monday, October 28, 2013

Tornado Aftermath

Five months after the deadly tornado that tore through my city leaving a wake of destruction in its path, houses are popping up all over.  Businesses have rebuilt, street signs are repaired and the debris is cleaned up.  People have healed.

Right?

My mom and I were running errands by our house yesterday and just decided to stop by the elementary school (Plaza Towers) where 7 young kids were killed when the tornado leveled their school.  We've been by here a few times to check for progress or visit the small memorial on site.  

Yesterday was the most encouraging because so many houses are being re-built and most of the tragic destruction is removed.  It almost looks like a normal new neighborhood, save for a few seemingly abandoned houses that still look like a warzone.   It felt good to see that.  Even the school has been completely cleaned up and the beginnings of construction are underway to replace it.

But on the far side of the school, the marquee still stands.  It is a mangled up piece of metal, clearly demonstrating the devastating effects of the storm.  On it reads, Awards Assembly May 20th.  It's as if that sign is a permanent fixture frozen on that terrible day.  Nearby are 7 crosses symbolizing the innocent babies lost here.  They are wooden and beautiful and eerie.  They shouldn't have to be here.

And as we were slowly pulling by, a young man in a truck pulled up and waved politely at us.  He was in a work truck and I assumed he was there on business.  Until he got out of his truck and walked purposefully towards the roped off makeshift memorial.

He crawled into the cordoned off area and before I realized what was happening, he reached out and placed his hands lovingly and desperately onto the 3rd cross.  The grief was PALPABLE.  It radiated through the air and seemed to stop all time.

I froze in the car, goosebumps all over, beginning to realize what I'd just witnessed.  A father's loss.  Still just as fresh and raw five months later.  Completely unaffected by the positive changes and growth occurring all around him.  Simply a parent who had suffered the unthinkable loss of a child.

It reverberated throughout my entire soul the rest of the day and still affects me this morning.  I wanted to turn around and embrace him.  Tell him that others still remember too.  Make him feel not so alone.  

Grief is still very much here.  We don't have as many physical reminders anymore, but the wounds are far from healed.  My heart goes out to those that will be spending their first holidays without these kids soon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not the Easiest Job

When someone described parenting as a job, they were mostly correct.  It is a lot of work.  The part they seemed to have missed was that you are completely unpaid.  And usually underappreciated.  And you never get to leave "work".  The job continues 24/7. 

You may think when they go to bed at night that you have you're "break" time.  I disagree.  You are still on call.  Those little munchkins may wake up crying or with explosive vomiting or diarrhea or with a sudden desire to pee/get a drink/eat a snack/change pajamas.   I'm so thankful when we go 8 hours straight without an interruption. 

The current stages we are in is definitely difficult.  Paisley goes through weeks where she is so pleasant.  She is funny and enjoyable.  Then she can transform into this little terrorist whose sole purpose on this planet is to torture her mom.  Right now, she doesn't like me.  For real.  She chooses my mom or Aaron over me ALL the time.  I'm not a sensitive person at all but it has admittedly broken my heart a few times.

I'm doing some personal research on whether or not it's better to just let her avoid me and back off or if I should try to press on in trying to make her love me more.  Neither seems to change things significantly.  I guess the good news is that I'll be prepared for her teenage years.

Graham is still pleasant and funny, but has not been a fan of weaning.  I completely cut him off a week ago now and he still gets mad about it in the morning which is the one time he was still nursing.  Poor baby would have nursed FOREVER.   He's also still not walking (almost 15 months) and I'm really ready for him to get going.  He loves to be carried and I know that's why he sees no need in walking.  But my arms are wearing out and it is so much harder to get things done while lugging around a 22ish pound baby!

Life is just hectic and exhausting around here.  Nothing too crazy to report! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Birth Control

Such an interesting turn of events that the blog that started as my comfort and safe place during the lonely world of infertility and charting and fertility drugs has now morphed over time into this.  The days that I am embarking on long-term birth control and preventative family planning.  Marking the end to my family building and settling in to the wonderful little group we've become. 

It's a happy place for me.   I love and adore my two little people.  They are incredible and I love them even more as they are getting bigger and more fun and more interactive.  Our lives are full and exhausting and overwhelming.  And I don't want an accidental number three.

My IUD has been in since Graham was 8 weeks old.  I would have had it inserted during my C-section if I thought that was an option.  We went with the paragard which is non-hormonal.  It was a simple procedure to have put in and hasn't caused any trouble since.  Who knows what periods would be like because I haven't had one since I got pregnant with Graham.  I am just now weaning him completely and breastfeeding totally shuts AF down for this girl.  In fact, I have only had two periods since becoming pregnant with Paisley almost 4 years ago so I'm kinda spoiled to not having them.

Here's the deal though.  My infertility doc wanted me to be on birth control pills when not pregnant or nursing.  So, I have an appointment next week to go to the doctor for a prescription.  But I'm hoping he'll let me keep my IUD in for the full 10 years it's good for as well.  Putting two men in the goalie.  :)

People asked why I just didn't tie my tubes during my C-section.  2 reasons.  1.) My hospital forbids tubal ligations because it is a catholic hospital.  2.) I need to be on birth control pills anyways to control my PCOS.  So, it just didn't make sense to schedule an outpatient tubal or even a vasectomy.  But I definitely am not opposed to combining multiple forms of birth control!  :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Long time, No see

Hey friends,

It's been a month and I've been totally MIA.  We went on a week-long cruise with both kids to the Virgin Islands which was amazing.  And tiresome.  And we're still recovering.  I should totally post some adorable babies in swimsuits on the beach photos.  If only I could remember where I downloaded them.

The big thing going on in my mommy-world right now is weaning.  Or the attempt to wean.  Big man is now almost 14 months old and if it were his choice, we would nurse until college.  Seriously.  So, whereas with Paisley and I it was more of a mutual decision and seemed natural and easier, this one is a doozy.

I've weaned him down to one feeding just in the mornings but I swear my breasts are hard as a rock and fuller than I've ever seen them by morning.  The milk fairy needs to spread the love elsewhere because I cannot cold turkey this with the production still up like it is.  Why is my body not getting the hint that this ship has sailed and we need to cut off the factory?!?

So, my plan is to nurse him only in the morning for a few more days and then try to nurse on only one side in the morning giving the other side 48 hours to dry up more.  I'm also going to get some cabbage leaves to put in my bra.  Already taking 800 mg of ibuprofen three times a day.  I've also heard sage tea might help.  Anyone with advice out there?  I'd be willing to eat/drink/apply/snort/sniff/ingest about anything at this point if it would make this process easier. 
Like it isn't already psychologically draining enough to know you are ending a beautiful bonding process with your last baby, I don't exactly need the physical pain. 

I should say I am incredibly thankful that I have had such a long, successful breastfeeding relationship with both kids.  My poor boobs are worn out though.  I dread seeing the aftermath the nursing left behind....


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy birthday Paisley!!!

I cannot believe my firstborn has turned THREE!!!  The moment she entered this world, my life changed forever.  I have not been well-rested or relaxed since that day, but it is all so worth it. She has the most infectious little laugh and has such a huge personality.  

We had an awesome party with a cookout and swimming and then horseback riding.  Even daddy's tortoises came to meet everyone!






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Three Horses

For those of you who live out of state, you may think all Oklahomans ride horses to work everyday and wear belt buckles the size of our heads.  TV shows do not help our case with such stereotypes.  We always cringe about the contestants they choose from here on all shows because they are always as country bumpkin as they can get.

With that said, we have always wanted horses.  I have loved riding since I was a little girl and Paisley already adores them.  So when a popular riding stable near us closed due to owner retirement, all of their horses went to auction.  We went and won three of the child friendly horses!!!

Meet our three mares, "Honey", "Buzz", and "Molly". They are amazingly gentle with our kids and we are all in love with them.  They do great with trail rides and give us lots of affection.



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Off the Ledge

Everyone can breathe a giant sigh of relief and tell DHS that they don't need to investigate for now.  This house is back to normal.

There is a very direct correlation between my attitude towards parenting and breaks from Mother's Day out.  When they have a break for holidays, they spend way too much time with me and with each other.  And then add an illness for each of them along with teething for one and you have a MESS!

And the kids seem to thrive on the structure of school.  Which is just not something I am good at providing.  I'm very much a "let's-just-wake-up-when-we-feel-like-it-and-do-whatever-we-feel-like-doing-at-the-moment" kind of person.  Plans are fine if they happen to be made, but Aaron and I were spontaneous and unstructured before kids.  And now we are even more so because life is crazier.

Moral of this story is that I should give you all fair warning when the kids will be out of school for several weeks again (Christmas) so that I don't have the SWAT team busting through my windows to rescue me from my insanity.  :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Failing

Lately I've been really stressed out as a mom.  Both kids had fifth's disease which produced a nice rash all over both of them, but the worst part was the foul moods that appeared.  We've now had two tough weeks of fits and mood swings.  And I was lying in bed last night after fighting Paisley for an hour to go to bed, and a thought hit me like a freight train.

I don't hate being a mom.  Trust me, I've felt worried that maybe this wasn't the right role for me.  But then I figured it out I sometimes just resent that I'm not as good as I thought I'd be.  I know my own mom was better.  My expectations I had set for myself were just so much more than what I've actually managed.

I pictured myself as fun and productive and calmer and organized.  The kids would have tidy little rooms and perfect schedules and cute activities.  And maybe I should have known that none of that fits my personality, but a girl can dream...

What I'm living with currently is an almost 3 year old who has decided she HATES her brother 100% of the time and her mom about 75% of the time.  The interesting twist here is that she is obsessively clingy towards me the other 25% of the time.  She doesn't like the way I do anything and I feel tons of guilt about bringing her brother into the situation because I know I could do better if it were just her.  She wouldn't have to share her toys or her time or her parents if she were an only.  

I loved my life as an only child.  I still don't wish I had siblings.  :)

And then Graham.  He is pictured in the dictionary under the phrase "mama's boy".  He dotes on me all day long.  He requires me to be touching him or holding him.  I'm only nursing him twice a day now and it's going to take a nipple removal to completely wean him.  And then I think he'll still try.

He is walking yet but is a fast crawler and cruises along everything in the house.  Furniture, pets, people...  And man, he wants so badly to play with his sister.

And I want so badly to not have to discipline my darling daughter all day.  I don't want to end the day with her crying because she doesn't want to go to bed.  And for goodness sake, is it too much to ask that the kids could just tolerate each other a bit better again?!?

They really are amazing kids and are so good much of the time.  But the past two weeks are the kind that have led people into padded rooms or liquor stores.  :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Graham!!!

My sweet little baby boy is one today.  He has been such an amazing blessing in our lives and I adore him so much.  I love his sweet, laid-back personality.  He lets us drag him around all over the place to do the things that his opinionated big sister likes to do and he even seems to enjoy it.

He has the most beautiful smile I've ever seen and his laugh could melt your heart.  I am so glad that I put my tremendous fear of having two kids aside because he truly completed our family.

Happy birthday, little man.  I hope all of your dreams and wishes come true.



Friday, July 26, 2013

She looks just like her daddy

Why is it that it annoys me SO much when people (always women) tell me that my kids look like their dad???  I obviously think he's attractive and chose to have kids with him.  But it grates on my nerves every time I hear it.

Maybe it's that I don't agree.  Sure they both have resemblance to us but even our own parents don't think the kids are spitting images of either of us.  Aaron and I agree that they are a perfect combination of us.

Maybe it's that it takes me out of the equation.  As if I didn't carry these little people around in my uterus for 9 months and squeeze them out of a tiny opening and nurse them for a long time, often overnight, and completely become sleep deprived in caring for them.  Only seems fair that they would resemble me a little.  Right?

And I know it doesn't matter.  They are beautiful kids and are perfect.  Somehow it just makes me crazy when people are so determined that they look just like daddy.   


Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Amazing Kids

These two children have been impressing me lately.  I feel like each is changing and growing so much right now as they are both creeping up on birthdays.  He is playing with Paisley more on his own and becoming increasingly mobile every day. I still think he may be a late walker but he can cruise well now and crawls FAST.  

Paisley's language development is astonishing.  I swear every morning I feel taken aback by how adult-like she sounds.  It's so much fun having conversation with her now and she is a funny little person.  I adore this child.

Watching the two of them play together has been the most rewarding part of parenting so far.  Last night she was doing a "check-up" on him and he was laughing hysterically.  One of those memories that I wanted so badly to capture on video but couldn't risk ruining the moment.

Like when Graham stretches his head around while I'm holding him to smile sweetly at my face.  Or when Paisley wraps her tiny arms around my neck at night so that I'll lay down with her. Those are just times I try to engrave on my heart so I never forget.






Monday, July 1, 2013

Operation "Please-Stop-Nursing"

Operation "Please-Stop-Nursing-For-The-Love-Of-My-Sanity" is looking to be a failed mission.  I am ready to be done with this phase and Graham needs to agree with me.

We are so lucky that we had two great breastfeeders.  Paisley gradually transitioned to the sippy cup and whole milk by 9 months though while Graham is 11 months old now and still wants to nurse every 2-3 hours even if he is eating solids well.

He hates ALL sippy cups.  It doesn't matter to him if they have handles or straws or cute patterns or awesome shapes.  They all suck compared to mom' bottles.  And he's never taken a bottle.

But as much as I've enjoyed the sweet, quiet nursing time with both babies, I need to reclaim my body.  I want to get back on regular birth control and feel like I have energy again.  I want to drink three glasses of wine without worrying about it.   And I want to leave my house without fear that he is going to lose his marbles without being able to nurse.

So, my current plan is to pump during the day as much as possible so that he can have my milk in his sippy cup.  Then he also won't be too successful if he tries to nurse.  And I'm going to try to spread out feedings to every 4 hours and then hopefully start cutting them back even more.

This is soooo tough.  I love this little man and I don't want to make him sad.  But it's time.  :(

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Trip to the Principal's Office

Paisley somehow managed to make it through a whole year at Mothers Day Out before I got the much-dreaded, yet very expected, bad report from school.

It read, "Paisley is having an issue with naptime.  She won't stay on her mat and bothers the other kids.  After telling her multiple times, she was sent to Ms. Kim's office."

She hasn't taken a nap there again since that day and they've stopped sending me notes because I guess my lack of reaction must make them realize that it's a waste of their time.

Instead of taking a walk of shame with my note in hand, I got a chuckle out of it and put it in her baby book.  I did talk to her about not bothering the other kids, but I don't see any need in punishing her over this. 

Well, now they are worried because Graham only wants to nap for 20-30 minutes.  Duh.  That's all he ever naps at home.  When I try to explain that to the three women who all address it with me every time I pick up, I'm met with blank stares as if they just can't fathom the thought of a 10-month-old who doesn't need a ninety minute nap at 12:00 pm in a foreign place with strange people and 7 other noisy babies.  Hmmm.

So, am I crazy for not feeling like doing some crazy sleep training on my baby who sleeps 11 hours well overnight but only likes catnaps during the day OR on my almost 3 year old who no longer requires naps and still only sleeps 8-9 hours at night???

They only go for 5 hours.  Surely there have been other children who don't need naps...  And how is it that I feel like they somehow think I can control these two little munchkins and send over sleepy time vibes when they need it?  

Don't get me wrong- I adore this place and waited a long time to get in.  The kids love it and I feel great about where they are.  But I just can't try to force my non sleepers to do something two days of the week that they aren't doing the other 5 days... 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finding Balance

Last week, the kids started Mother's Day out for the summer session.  They like to call it Children's Day Out to make it sound less like parents are just dumping off their kids for a few hours of sweet freedom, but let's call it what it is.  

Paisley has been there for a year now, but Graham is just now old enough.  She has loved it and I feel like she has learned a ton.  And let me tell you how amazing it has been to have two days a week to do my errands, work out, catch up at the clinic, pee alone, etc.  

I drop those two off without a second glance, dodge the other parents in the hallway, and peel out of the parking lot headed for alone time.  You can hear me giggling with glee and celebrating victory.  

Yesterday, I went to the gym for an hour then mowed our front yard.  I showered alone, ate lunch with my husband, and ran a ton of errands.  All in 5 hours time.  With kids, it would have taken... Until the end of time.  Lets face it, nothing gets accomplished with these two around.

And I am such a better mom when given the chance to miss the kids.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder. :)

I am super pumped about the fall semester when they'll each go three days a week!  Yippee!!!  Finally, I'm getting a balance back in my life.  We've been seeing our friends a lot more, our kids are getting more fun with each passing day, and I am sneaking in some "me" time.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Which One of these is not like the Others?

Anyone have a child that they are pretty sure is unique compared to...well, everybody else on the planet?   Paisley is my one of a kind.  She marches to her own drummer.  Carves her own path.  Whatever you want to call it.

She did her first 5k race with my mom and I last night and loved it.  But she had to pee towards the end and was happy to do it on the side of the track as people passed.  And then at a princess party tonight while the other kids are doing horse rides, she takes her cute fairy costume off in the pasture and streaks all over the pasture.

It's weekends like this that make all the hard work worth it.  And remind me why I'm so exhausted!!!




Friday, June 7, 2013

Burned Out

Are most parents born with some kind of endless source of patience and never ending love for being the provider (also known as personal assistant/slave) to their kids?  I feel like there are women who always love being a mom.  You know the ones that say, "being a parent is the best thing I've EVER done" and "I wish there were more hours in the day to spend with my kids!"  

And I so wish that I could agree excitedly with these women but I find myself looking at them like they're from outer space.  I search their eyes for signs of deceit or even insanity.  They look honest and heartfelt.  So then I try to decide what I lack to make me feel less excited.

I have stay-at-home friends who can't imagine why I would ever return to being a PA.  Maybe because its my career and something I love doing.  Maybe because I like to contribute financially to this family.  Maybe because I love going somewhere all alone.

I have days where this is awesome.  The kids are sweet and they learn something new and they love me a ton.  But there are plenty of uglier days where I feel like these two little tyrants do nothing but yell at me and criticize every move I make, every meal I serve, every word I say.  It's sometimes like doing the hardest job in the world and receiving no praise or even negative comments.  Day after day, it can get old.

The kids are just having a rough patch right now with lots of developmental changes and returning from a vacation and being generally busy.  And I know things get better and worse all the time.  I'm just having a bit of a slump right now and need to hear that I'm not the only mom who isn't screaming from the rooftops about how amazing my life is right this minute.

On that note, my son just pooped on our carpet.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Great Wolf getaway

We just took a much needed trip to Great Wolf Lodge, the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas Aquarium and to see several of our college friends who live in Dallas.  It was great and the kids were fantastic as usual!!!